Home project brings top architect out of retirement

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 May, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 May, 2002, 12:00am

Renowned architect I. M. Pei has signed an agreement to design a museum in his home town of Suzhou, the Beijing Morning Post reported yesterday.

Mr Pei, 85, who retired 12 years ago, emigrated to the United States from China after World War II and set up his own architectural firm in New York. His works include the glass pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre in Paris, the Xiang Shan (Fragrant Hills) Hotel in Beijing and the Bank of China building in Hong Kong. His sons designed the bank's head office in Beijing.

He signed the agreement with the Suzhou authorities on Tuesday. The new museum will be built close to the city's Folklore Museum and its stone lions, a well-known tourist attraction.

Mr Pei said he would personally direct the design of the project and that his greatest challenge was the limited space available. He discussed the project in Suzhou with many of China's best-known architects, including Wu Liangyong, Zhang Kaiji and Luo Zhewen.

Asked to name his favourite among his designs, Mr Pei said they were like his daughters and that he liked them all.

'If I have to compare, I would perhaps choose the pyramid in the Louvre,' he said.