Architect I.M. Pei, who died at age 102, applied his distinctive angles to Indiana University art museum

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The celebrated career of I.M. Pei included three structures built in Indiana:

  • The Cleo Rodgers Memorial Library in Columbus, which is open to the public.
  • The Eskenazi Museum of Art on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus, which will reopen this fall following two years of renovations.
  • An air traffic control tower at Indianapolis International Airport, which was razed in 2006 — made obsolete after a new terminal and control tower were built.

Pei, who died Thursday at age 102, earned international acclaim for projects such as the glass pyramid addition to the Louvre in Paris, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston and the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

The Eskenazi Museum of Art is made up of triangles — two concrete segments plus a glass-ceiling atrium — a signature shape when Pei devised the Louvre addition and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Eskenazi Museum of Art

Known as the IU Art Museum until being renamed the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art in 2016, this building first welcomed visitors in 1982.

The Eskenazis gave $15 million to the museum, as well as an art collection that includes works by Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Keith Haring.

“I.M. Pei was one of the greatest and most accomplished architects of the 20th century,” IU President Michael McRobbie said in a statement. “His design for our treasured Eskenazi Museum of Art remains truly visionary and extraordinary, and it has contributed mightily to the museum’s reputation as one of the premier art museums in the world. The exquisite building has been a source of beauty and inspiration to countless Indiana University students, faculty, staff and members of the community who are drawn to its angular austerity, open spaces, windows and glass-ceiling atrium. We are truly honored to be home to one of his architectural masterpieces.”

Cleo Rogers Memorial Library

As one of the buildings that makes Columbus an esteemed city for architecture, the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library opened in 1969.

Pei designed the building with the intent of being “quiet, dignified and easily accessible to persons of all ages,” according to the Bartholomew County Public Library.

He suggested the plaza that serves as a public space in front of the building, and Pei recommended a commission for artist Henry Moore — who delivered the “Large Arch” sculpture.

In 2017 independent film “Columbus,” lead actress Haley Lu Richardson portrays a high school graduate who works at the library and is passionate about architecture.

Air traffic control tower

In 1962, the Federal Aviation Agency announced that a Pei concept would become the standard for air traffic control towers.

His design was lauded for making “improved space for operating radio and radar equipment, and a better environment for air traffic control personnel.”

More than a dozen Pei towers were built in the United States, including one competed in 1972 at Indianapolis International Airport (known then as Weir Cook Airport). Twelve pounds of dynamite were used to topple the 140-foot tower on Nov. 13, 2006.

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