PARIS, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Jean-Luc Martinez, president and director of the Louvre Museum, on Friday mourned the passing of China-born American architect Ieoh Ming Pei, and paid tribute to the "visionary architect with an exceptionally long and rich career."
"All the museum's teams, express their deep emotion and sadness at the announcement of Ieoh Ming Pei's death... He has left a lasting mark at the museum, in the continuity of the great builders dating back to the XII century, by boldly bringing the Louvre Museum into modernity," Martinez said in a press release.
"I. M. Pei was a demanding and convincing architect, who solicited all talents. He was able to inspire great enthusiasm within the teams of the Louvre Museum throughout this vast project. His incredible smile marked the spirits," it added.
Selected in 1983 to design the Louvre Pyramid, Ieoh Ming Pei had offered the Louvre "a heart and a lung" by creating "this unique entrance and the new museum spaces of the Richelieu wing, the collections' reserves, an auditorium, a shopping mall, bookstores, restaurants and a garden," Martinez said, hailing the design as one that helped to make the building the world's most visited museum.
"The Louvre is the kind of challenge that is only taken once in a lifetime," I. M. Pei said when he was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1983.
Pei was born in Guangzhou, China, and raised in Hong Kong and Shanghai, before moving to the United States in 1935. He studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.
Since the 1940s, Pei has been the mastermind behind a wide variety of famous buildings including the the Bank of China skyscraper in Hong Kong and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library in Boston.