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It's Pei back time

A response to Trevor Boddy’s Reputations essay on I M Pei

While agreeing with much of Trevor Boddy’s piece on IM Pei, I think it unfair to place him as ‘near the front of the long line of most over-praised architects of the 20th century’. After all, what has the USA given us in recent decades but a long line of the grotesquely overrated − Richard Meier, Frank Gehry, Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Steven Holl, Daniel Libeskind and so on. In such company, Pei is fairly far back in the queue. Besides, there is something about the mixture of forcefulness and refined control in his work that captures a sense of US imperial power when it was at its peak.

Boddy praises the entrance to the Louvre, but another and maybe finer Pei building of note is the Commerce Court tower in Toronto with its suspended, stainless-steel curtain wall creating a transparent ground floor. Sadly, the square it frames was vandalised some time ago by the inappropriate insertions of Eberhard Zeidler’s office.

Georges Geometriou, Athens, Greece


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