I. M. Pei
In the spring of 1917, a little boy was born in Suzhou, China. His parents gave him the name Ieoh Ming. His life is similar to mine in that he moved around a lot. The similarities end there because he is a master architect and I can't design a decent birdhouse. His family moved to Hong Kong where he developed a love for American movies and local architecture. When he was still in secondary school, he started looking for a university to further his education. He chose the University of Pennsylvania where he enrolled in the architecture program. The fashionable style of architecture at the time was Beaux Arts which is extremely ornamental and extravagant. I.M. didn't like this style at all so he decided to drop architecture and transfer to MIT to study engineering. When the dean of the architecture department at MIT saw his work, he urged him to reconsider and join his department and continue studying design. He agreed and found out that this school also taught heavily from the pages of the Beaux Arts school. I.M. thought it was boring but he continued. About this time he discovered the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and became intrigued by architecture again. He went to study at Harvard where he met Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer who showed him the wonderful style of Bauhaus designs. When I.M. finished school, he worked with various groups until he landed a design project that they hoped would revitalize the downtown area of Oklahoma City. Through his work dubbed the "Pei Plan" in the 1960's and 70's, the ideas of the Myriad Convention Center and the Myriad Botanical Gardens were realized. I lived in Oklahoma City for a few years and visited both of those places often. Unfortunately, I was young and dumb and knew nothing of I.M. a the time. Such is life. From there, he developed a reputation for innovative designs that were both functional and pleasing to look at. He has influenced countless architects and artists over the decades. His structures make a lasting impression on anyone who is fortunate enough to see one.