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Late Architect I.M. Pei's Columbus Library Turns 50 This Year

Architect I.M. Pei speaks at the dedication of the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, which he designed, in May 1971. Columbus, Ind.

Architect I.M. Pei makes remarks on the dedication of the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library in Columbus, Ind., May 16, 1971. (Courtesy of Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives)

One of architect I.M. Pei’s earliest solo works, the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library in Columbus, Ind., will turn 50 this year.

Pei, who died this week at 102, is also known for designing the Louvre’s glass pyramids in Paris and the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art on the Indiana University Bloomington campus.

Columbus is known for its modern architecture. Resident and architect Louis Joyner says despite the abundance of great works in town, Pei’s library stands out.

"This is one of the real jewels in town," he says. "This was done at the beginning of Pei’s career, actually, when he was sort of just striking out on his own."

Joyner says the library and its accompanying plaza were designed with the town in mind. He says it complements the church across the street, designed by Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen.

"There’s actually a whole dialogue as you kind of move around this building, a relationship with First Christian and other things around it," Joyner says.

Completed in 1969, the library turns 50 this year. There are celebrations planned for later this year.

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