Suzhou Museum was one of I.M. Pei’s last major works. After Fragrant Hill Hotel (1983), the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong (1989), and the Bank of China Head Office Building in Beijing (2001), it was his fourth and final building in China. Arguably, it was the most important for Pei, as it represented a very personal return to his beginnings, a parting gift to his ancestral home of some 600 years. Working as Design Consultant to his sons at Pei Partnership, 83-year-old Pei pursued his ongoing efforts to distill cultural essence in a way that would define a uniquely Chinese language of modern architecture. Here, immersed in local history and context, he built on the past to create an innovative, uniquely pictorial advance in the age-old tradition of Chinese gardens. Suzhou Museum was not an end for Pei, but an important bridge to the future.
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