This is only the second building of the famous architect in China, and in this case - in his native places: although Pei himself was born south of there, in Guangzhou, but it was in Suzhou that his ancestors lived for hundreds of years.
Suzhou has existed for 2.5 thousand years and is known for its monuments of architecture and garden art, many of which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Therefore, Pei took the problem of designing a modern building in the center of the old city especially seriously. The architect decided to use the laconic geometric volumes of the museum complex typical for his work in the color typical for Suzhou, consisting of combinations of white and gray. At the same time, Pei, having borrowed the whitewashed walls from the architectural typology characteristic of the city, abandoned the use of traditional gray tiles. Instead, he used gray natural stone panels and gray plaster. In general, the project is a system of pavilions located around courtyards and gardens, a plan based on the Chinese manor scheme that has developed over the millennia. According to J.M. While singing, he tried to combine the techniques of modernism and the traditions of local architecture. Thus, he proposed a variant of the architectural style for the new China. According to the architect, what is now being built in his homeland is either a slavish imitation of the past, or a weak imitation of the West.
The museum combines both typical features of Pei's work (large geometric volumes, extensive use of glass and natural lighting) and the techniques of Chinese architecture: connecting a building and a garden into a single whole, artificial reservoirs with bridges thrown over them, etc.
The project cost $ 40 million and includes 5,000 sq. m of exhibition halls, a library and a large lecture hall with 200 seats.
After Pei ended his active collaboration with his architecture firm Pei Cobb Freed in 1990, he designs buildings only outside the United States. So, as the architect himself admits, he "learns the world."