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I. M. Pei

From Bloomingpedia

I. M. Pei and Partners designed the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, dedicated in 1982. The museum is located on the Fine Arts Plaza on the Indiana University Bloomington campus.

In his book Indiana University Bloomington: America's Legacy Campus, IU Vice President Emeritus Terry Clapacs describes the museum as the university's most controversial building design, due to it's modernist concrete walls located amid a mass of collegiate Gothic limestone buildings. Clapacs writes that Pei did concede to tinting the concrete a buff color to match the color of limestone.

At the third annual Rosemary Miller Lecture on Friday, May 17, 2013 at Bloomington's City Hall, Clapacs spoke about University personnel travelling to New York to meet Pei, where he made them lunch in a kitchen attached to his office. Pei insisted that he was known as an architect who used concrete and that limestone wasn't something he was willing to do. Being a bit starry-eyed from the experience the IU delegation did not press Pei on the issue. Clapacs went on to relate that after the building was complete Pei confessed that limestone would have been a better fit.

The National Gallery of Art East Building in Washington D. C., dedicated in 1978, was also designed by Pei. It shares many design features with the Eskanazi Museum, but was faced with Tennessee marble to complement the National Gallery's West Building, designed by John Russel Pope in 1937. A project to remove and reinstall the failing marble veneer on the East Building ran from 2011 to 2014


  • Indiana University Bloomington: America's Legacy Campus, Clapacs, et. al., Indiana University Press, 2017, page 100
  • Vice President Emeritus Clapacs to discuss history of IU's limestone buildings, IU News Room, May 6, 2013, retrieved, September 7,2019