Suzhou Museum | The Plan
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Suzhou Museum

Pei Partnership Architects

Asia | Suzhou

The gardens of Suzhou preserve the legacy of an ancient canal city that flourished with the silk trade and dazzled Marco Polo. High walls shut out the ugliness of the commercial sprawl it has acquired in the past fifty years. If you arrive early in the day or out of season to avoid the noisy tour groups, you can still savor the idealized landscapes that scholars created for poetry readings. Old men sit around playing mah jong and students sketch pavilions and courtyards, patterned pavements, moon gates, and ponds reflecting pagodas.
That interplay of man and nature left its mark on Ieoh Ming Pei, who was born in 1917 in what is now Guangzhou, and spent childhood summers in his family’s Lion’s Grove garden, before leaving for America to study architecture at MIT and Harvard. The Suzhou Museum, which he completed in his 90th year, is a triumphal homecoming, crowning...

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