This week I. M. Pei passed away at the age of 102. I. M. Pei was an architect who began his career in 1948 after he earned his graduate degree at Harvard. He is famous for many buildings he created such as the glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris, the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar.
But I want to talk about one a little closer to home, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame here in Cleveland! Mr. Pei was not a rock and roll fan and in fact turned down the job when he was first offered it. He changed his mind though and began preparing for the job by going to a series of rock concerts with Rolling Stone publisher Jane Wenner. He wanted to understand the essence of rock music to help him design the Hall. The Rock Hall would open in 1995 on the shores of Lake Erie.
This is the same approach he took with the Museum of Islamic Art. He saw the opportunity to learn about a culture he did not know. He read up on Islam and toured the world looking at Islamic architecture.
We take the time to thank Mr. Pei for such an amazing Rock Hall here in Cleveland and send our condolences to his family.