February 9, 2011

Suzhou Museum by I. M. Pei…

I still remember the first time I saw the Suzhou Museum by I. M. Pei. Well, not in person per se (one day I hope!) but from a beautifully packaged postcards set that was given to me as souvenir. I gasped the second I saw the image above. Doesn’t it look like a watercolour painting? In fact, this “stone mountains” landscape is set against an older, whitewashed garden wall. With the pond as part of its backdrop, it really does look like mountain peaks from afar. What makes this museum extra special is that Suzhou is Pei’s ancestral hometown, and what an amazing personal tribute it is. I love the play of his signature styles here: squares, rectangles and pyramids. Modern, and yet the traditional Chinese motifs are so well blended in with all the clean lines, and its simple white and grey color scheme. There’s something so peaceful, and even spiritual about this place. And if I could feel that through these photographs, can you imagine sitting in the museum garden and just… gaze? Pei once said, quote “In China, architecture and the garden are one. A Western building is a building, and a garden is a garden. They’re related in spirit. But they are one in China.” unquote. There’s a lot to be said about that statement, don’t you think?

{ all images scanned from “Postcards of Suzhou Museum” }

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