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Pei day


Sino-American architect I M Pei has continued a family connection with the Bank of China by overseeing the design of its Beijing headquarters by his sons' practice, Pei Partnership Architects. Pei senior, of course, designed the Bank of China headquarters in Hong Kong some time ago; his father, Tsuyee Pei, founded the bank, under the name Bank of Qing, in 1912. The Beijing building has not turned out entirely as expected. Its huge light-filled atrium houses a Chinese-style garden, flooring of polished granite and a large pool with rocks hauled from thousands of miles away that reflects sky patterns through the glass roof.

Unfortunately, all this is so dramatic that several visitors, with their eyes drawn upwards, have fallen into the pool, which is flush with the granite floor. The first solution was to surround it with hundreds of poinsettias, giving it a really Christmassy feel;

they have now been replaced by chain fencing.

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