I.M. Pei creations: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Museum of Islamic Art

When I was recently visiting my friend in Denmark, she remembered going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum when she visited me 10 years ago. The day we headed inside this I.M. Pei designed building, we didn’t have time to see the museum’s exhibits and films, but I wanted her see Lake Erie from the building’s unique perspective and to enjoy the angles, light and concept of I.M. Pei’s design.

I am a bit of a building nut. A city’s buildings can be one of a city’s selling points. Cleveland has several, but the Hall of Fame is one of my favorites. It’s worth visiting for the architecture alone.

The building juts out onto Lake Erie affording a gorgeous view, creating the sense that the lake is part of the design because of the lobby and atrium. The atrium reaches upwards in a stunning span of glass past each floor’s balcony.

To get the full effect, take the escalator down from the lobby to the ground floor. Although, there’s an admission fee to see the exhibits, you can enjoy aspects of the building and the gift shop for free.

In this New York Times article, Nicolai Ouroussoff waxes poetic about the new Museum of Islamic Art, the latest I.M. Pei creation. The museum located in Doha, Qatar sits on a man-made island.

The way the water is part of the building’s design, reminds me of the Hall of Fame’s positioning. This past November, the art museum opened with fanfare and a plan to be the site of the first Tribeca Film Festival in Doha thanks to plans by actor Robert De Niro.

After reading both Ouroussoff’s article and this Al Arabiya New Channel article about the museum, I felt refreshed.

What both articles point out through their explanation of I.M. Pei’s work and the creation of this museum is that, despite the steady drone of what is horrible in the world, when it comes to conflicts and people’s penchant for not getting along, there’s a whole different side to humanity that gets far too little press. The collection and the building are one way to show the endurance of people’s humanity and vision.

For Doha, the museum offers a broader look at the vastness and scope of Islamic culture. The collection certainly interests me. Because of I.M. Pei’s connection to the building and the vision he describes in the article, Qatar has made it on my list of places to go one day.

* The photo of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is courtesy of the museum’s Web site.