Mr. Pei’s Perfect Shapes: The Story of Architect I.M. Pei

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. May 2024. 40p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063006300.
PreS-Gr 3–From an innovative skyscraper to a futuristic presidential museum to a 70-foot tall glass pyramid at the Louvre, architect I.M. Pei made his mark on the world by designing extraordinary buildings. Born in China, Pei moved to Shanghai in 1927 at age 10, where he was fascinated to see an early high-rise building go up. Inspired to design buildings of his own, Pei moved to the U.S. to study architecture just as the profession was moving away from traditional styles and towards embracing modern designs using new materials and construction methods. After he was chosen to design the JFK presidential library, Pei became a highly sought after architect, completing numerous projects around the world, “each carefully planned by a man who could foresee how the shape of a building must harmonize with nature, with people, and with time.” Richly colored, digitally enhanced illustrations perfectly complement the text, with colors and shapes ranging from the curved lines and naturalistic earth tones of a rock garden in Suzhou, China to dazzling angles, geometric shapes, and neon colors for Pei’s modern buildings. Back matter includes a time line and selected sources.
VERDICT A fascinating and beautifully illustrated biography of one of our most celebrated architects. Highly recommended.

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