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The modernist architect I.M. Pei, who has died aged 102, was once pilloried for plonking a glass pyramid into the courtyard of the Louvre, but his controversial creation is now a landmark of the French capital. The Chinese-American designer endured a roasting from critics before the giant glass structure opened in 1989, with up to 90 percent of Parisians said to be against the project at one point. Pei's masterstroke was to link the three wings of the world's most visited museum with vast underground galleries bathed in light from his glass and steel pyramid.A whole wing of the Louvre was then occupied by the French Finance Ministry.For Martinez, the pyramid is "the modern symbol of the museum," he said, "an icon on the same level" as the Louvre's most revered artworks.Pei is not alone in being savaged for changing the cherished landscape of Paris.
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