The Easel

How I. M. Pei Shaped the Modern City

The obituaries might have one think Pei’s success was inevitable. Not so – modernism was not always an easy sell. His great skill was to find an accommodation between elegant design and local context. Of his Louvre entrance – “there’s more than one way to show deference to history. Instead of competing with the surrounding buildings, the diaphanous pyramid accentuated their age and beauty.”