New York, NY, (December 18, 2023) — Committee of 100 is greatly saddened by the sudden passing of Committee of 100 member Chien Chung “Didi” Pei. Pei, the son of Committee of 100 founder I.M. Pei, passed away the evening of December 12th in New York City. He was 77 years old.
A member of Committee of 100 since 2017, Pei was an active participant in Committee of 100’s annual Conference & Gala and served on multiple subcommittees across the organization. In 2021, Pei led the efforts in establishing the I.M. Pei award, a tribute to the principles and values that anchored his father’s work – a dedication to infuse his creations with profound humanity, respect and consideration for the people and history of the space in which he worked.
Yo-Yo Ma, Henry Tang and Oscar Tang, co-founders of Committee of 100, stated “Didi was a beacon of light across our entire Committee of 100 family. His contributions to the world of architecture and to advancing the interests of Chinese Americans will never be forgotten. The world is a little less brighter today without Didi. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with Didi’s family, his friends and colleagues at this time.”
Gary Locke, Chairman of Committee of 100, stated “The entire Committee of 100 family is saddened by the sudden passing of one of our members Chien Chung Pei. Everyone who knew Didi would agree that his smile and energy were contagious and his leadership in the field of architecture and dedication to the Chinese American community will be remembered forever. Our deepest condolences go out to Didi’s family and friends who are grieving his loss.”
Cindy Tsai, Interim President and Executive Director of Committee of 100, stated “We mourn the loss of our cherished member, Didi. While his contributions to architecture will always be cherished, it is Didi’s unwavering commitment to addressing Chinese American issues that has left a deep void. Didi advocated for ending racism, promoting equality and enhancing the lives of Asian Americans. He will be greatly missed.”
Pei earned a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Physics from Harvard College in 1968 and graduated in 1972 from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design with a Master’s Degree in Architecture. As the middle son of I.M. Pei, he was taught the vision, commitment and professional standards essential to the creation of significant and lasting architecture during his formative years.
Prior to founding Pei Partnership Architects in 1992 with his brother Li Chung (Sandi), Pei spent the first 20 years of his professional career contributing to many of I.M. Pei and Partners’ most celebrated projects, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (1978) and the Grand Louvre in Paris (Associate Partner for Design + Administration, 1992). There, he developed nationally recognized expertise in museum architecture and medical facility design.
Pei served as Designer-in-Charge of the West Wing extension and renovation of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (1981, 1986). Other museum/cultural projects to which he contributed include the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library in Massachusetts (1979) and the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Luxembourg (2006). He was also Designer-in-Charge for the Fragrant Hill Hotel in Beijing (1982), the Mount Sinai Hospital Guggenheim Pavilion (1989) and the Kirklin Clinic in Birmingham, AL (1992).
Pei completed two projects at Mount Sinai Hospital: neurosurgery operating rooms and the Martha Stewart Center for Living, a 7,800-square-foot outpatient geriatric wellness center. He led the PPA team that prepared the Master Plan for the UCLA South Campus and was Partner-in-Charge of the one-million-square-foot Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center that completely replaced the existing hospital badly damaged by the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. He was awarded the UCLA Medal, the university’s highest honor, in recognition of his enduring contribution to that institution.
Throughout his career, Pei played an active role in a number of professional and civic organizations including the American Institute of Architects, where he served as Chairman of the Delano-Aldrich Fellowship Committee and was Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the China Institute in New York City. Pei was a trustee of the Collegiate School in New York City and served on the Alumni Council of the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He was frequently called upon to lecture to professional and educational organizations on architectural design at the University of Texas (Austin), the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), and Columbia University. He had also lectured at the National Gallery of Art and the National Building Museum, both in Washington, D.C. and at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. Internationally, Pei had lectured in China, France, Italy, Mexico, Aruba, England, Brazil and Colombia.
Pei is survived by his wife Beatrice, children Olivia, Malcolm and Edward, and grandson Liam. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Young Concert Artists (yca.org/support) or China Institute (chinainstitute.org).
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About Committee of 100
Committee of 100 is a non-profit U.S. leadership organization of prominent Chinese Americans in business, government, academia, healthcare, and the arts focused on public policy engagement, civic engagement, and philanthropy. For over 30 years, Committee of 100 has served as a preeminent organization committed to the dual missions of promoting the full participation of Chinese Americans in all aspects of American life and constructive relations between the United States and Greater China. Visit https://www.committee100.org.
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