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2019 Summer Sunday Lecture Series: I. M. Pei: A Celebration of His Life and Work

Lorena Bradford, accessible programs, department of education, National Gallery of Art

The 2019 Summer Sunday Lecture Series takes a closer look at the many treasures housed in the Gallery’s permanent collection. Since it opened to the public in 1978, the East Building itself has been recognized as one of the Gallery’s most prized masterpieces. The passing of the building’s architect, I. M. Pei (1917–2019), invited a new look at his projects around the globe. In a talk given on July 7, 2019 as part of the 2019 Summer Sunday Lecture Series, 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.