I.M. Pei: A Celebration of His Life and Work
Lorena Bradford, accessible programs, department of education, National Gallery of Art
Since it opened to the public in 1978, the East Building has been recognized as one of the National Gallery of Art’s most prized masterpieces. The passing of the building’s architect, I.M. Pei (1917–2019), invited a new look at his building projects around the globe. In a talk given on July 7, 2019, Lorena Bradford situates the commission of the East Building within the context of Pei’s blossoming career and shares some of the challenges Pei and his team faced in developing the final, inspired design. Bradford analyzes the responses of critics, fellow architects, and the public to the East Building both before the completed structure was unveiled and after it opened in 1978, concluding with reflections on Pei’s legacy.