04 November 2007

The Pei connection

SUZHOU - Five years ago, during a break from tango class, Y had asked me what I would like from Paris. After a moment of thought, I said I wanted a postcard of the Louvre pyramids. At that time, I knew very little about I.M. Pei, only that he designed the Louvre pyramids (which invoked a greater desire in me to visit Paris than the Eiffel Tower*) as well as the Kennedy Museum that I was going to see a few days later in Boston. A photo I had taken at the Kennedy Museum later made it into the first issue of our grad student magazine, so that augured well for the start of a Pei connection.**

Rejuvenated from seeing the pyramids again last month, still so breathtaking even though it was my third time, I finally took the long-procrastinated trip to Pei's museum in Suzhou this weekend.

It was most brilliant use of gray I have ever seen. Single-handedly, it connects the antiquity of Suzhou and the modernity of Pei.

Next time I will pack a picnic and spend the day just looking at the gorgeous shadows.



*I had initially thought of posting a picture of the pyramids, so I poked around my photos for a street-level overview of them. I could not find a single one from all my trips to Paris. I must have concluded that it was much better to enjoy a private moment with the pyramids, than to have a menage-a-trois with hundreds of tourists.

**After coming back from Suzhou, I was delightfully surprised to know that Pei also did my favourite shopping mall and office of three years in Singapore - Raffles City. In fact, the connection can even be traced back further - it used to be my mum's office 20 years ago as well. I should have guessed from his motif of skylight, so classically and effectively used in both Raffles City and the Suzhou Museum.


  1. The skylight in Raffles City has since been greatly obscured by massive renovations following Capitaland's takeover of management of the building. Point to note though, the renovations are not complete as yet, and I'm guessing they are due for the year-end shopping season, so if you're coming back for a visit in Dec, do drop by to check it out then.

  2. C'est terrible! But they are not doing anything to the skylight right? I don't mind as long as they confine their renovations to the basement area.

    The Chinese firewall is finally down after 6 mths... Yesssss!

  3. The entire atrium on the ground flr (yes the stage area and open area where exhibitions used to be held) is under renovation. Not sure what the final look would be like. With bated breath I too hope the skylight will not be permanently obscured.

  4. big friendly giantNovember 23, 2007

    its a 3 storey podium with some water features on the side. 1st & 2nd floor retail, events area on 3rd floor. renovation supposed to be complete before christmas, so anytime now..

    if you want to see pictures and more details, go to the sgx website, look for capita commercial trust and download the raffles city updates from oct 23... :P