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In 1983, he won the Pritzker Prize, sometimes called the Nobel Prize of architecture.
Pei's ancestry traces back to the Ming Dynasty, when his family moved from Anhui province to Suzhou, but most importantly his family were directors of the Bank of China which later on funded the construction of important projects including the Kips Bay project in New York.
As a pain reliever, she was prescribed opium, and assigned the task of preparing her pipe to Pei.
The city's global architectural flavors had a profound influence on Pei, from the Bund waterfront area to the Park Hotel, built in 1934.
He was also impressed by the many gardens of Suzhou, where he spent the summers with extended family and regularly visited a nearby ancestral shrine.
He decided to abandon architecture and transferred to the engineering program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Once he arrived, however, the dean of the architecture school commented on his eye for design and convinced Pei to return to his original major.
The children were sent to live with extended family; their father became more consumed by his work and more physically distant.
Pei said: "My father began living his own separate life pretty soon after that." Pei's choice had two roots.
They also found wealth in the sale of medicinal herbs, the family stressed the importance of helping the less fortunate.
Ieoh Ming Pei was born on 26 April 1917 to Tsuyee Pei and Lien Kwun, and the family moved to Hong Kong one year later. As a boy, Pei was very close to his mother, a devout Buddhist who was recognized for her skills as a flautist.
MIT's architecture faculty was also focused on the Beaux-Arts school, and Pei found himself uninspired by the work.
In the library he found three books by the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier.
I decided that was the country for me." In 1935 Pei boarded a boat and sailed to San Francisco, then traveled by train to Philadelphia.