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I M Pei wins RIBA Gold Medal

Chinese-born American architect I M Pei has landed one of the industry’s most prestigious prizes – the RIBA’s Royal Gold Medal

The 92-year-old, whose full name is Ieoh Ming Pei, is best known for his glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris and has joined an exclusive Gold Medallists club which includes the likes of Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.

Although he has only built one permanent structure in the UK – a pyramid-shaped folly (2004) at Oare House, Wiltshire – the Pritzker Prize-winner is one of the most prolific architects of all time having completed more than 170 projects and 50 masterplans.

Pei was nominated for the 2010 Royal Gold Medal by David Adjaye who was joined on the RIBA’s selecting honours committee by institute president Ruth Reed, fellow Gold Medallist Ted Cullinan, environmental engineer Max Fordham, Anne Lacaton of French practice Lacaton & Vassal and Maggie’s Centre founder Laura Lee.

Speaking from New York, I M Pei said: ‘It is a great honour to receive the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects. I am humbled indeed to read the names of those who have preceded me as recipients. I look forward to attending the ceremony in February, and to thanking personally RIBA President Ruth Reed and the Honours Committee, and David Adjaye, who nominated me.’

Adjaye said Pei had been a ‘role model’ to him as young architect: ‘When I began my studies in architecture, I M Pei was already a giant in the cannon of greats. His work seemed effortlessly capable of creating extraordinary clarity out of complex and conflicting demands.’

RIBA Gold Medal

The Royal Gold Medal is given in recognition of an architect’s lifetime work and is personally approved by the Queen 

Previous winners include Sir Charles Barry, Sir George Gilbert Scott, Alfred Waterhouse, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, Charles Voysey, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Alvar Aalto, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Kenzo Tange, Ove Arup, Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, Louis Kahn, James Stirling, Berthold Lubetkin, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Oscar Niemeyer, Jean Nouvel, Rem Koolhaas, Toyo Ito and Alvaro Siza

Readers' comments (4)

  • He has always been my role model !

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  • I keep telling my clients that good architecture should sit like a piece of usable sculpture in it's surroundings; Pei has simply (& brilliantly) managed to convince all of his that this is true!

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  • My personal favourite of IM Pei's is th JFK Library in Boston....a great building among many in his portfolio.

    Well done!

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  • Paul Eugene Ong

    I always find it amazing whenever foreign architects are recognized for their work expecially by award giving bodies of another region.
    Architecture indeed creates icons of both commitment and intellectual creativity for generations to appreciate and learn from.

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