Life Of The Old House

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I. M. Pei never lived there. But relatives of the renowned architect are clinging to the hope that his fame will help them save the old house that stands as the last reminder of the family 's heyday in turn-of-the-century Shanghai.
To make way for a giant greenbelt, the city is planning to flatten the mansion that Pei 's great-uncle bought in 1911. Despite its designation for historic preservation and its connection to the prominent Shanghai family that produced the architect, the house remains in the path of the wrecking ball.
Death sentences like this are slapped on older homes throughout China. As part of its urban renewal, Shanghai has been going through a building boom. New highways, high-rises, even parkland and open spaces have replaced historic homes that graced this legendary port city. Few owners have the power to resist.
Most of Pei 's family now lives overseas. The only ones left are either too old to do anything about the possible demolition or too young to have any pull.
Interviewed by phone from his home in New York, the 83-year-old Pei would say only that he left China nearly seven decades ago, doesn 't remember his great-uncle 's house and doesn 't know enough about the situation to help.
The family here, which spells its name Bei, still hopes that his fame will make a difference. Most Shanghai residents associate the house with Pei, whose works include the Bank of China building in Hong Kong, the medical center being built at UCLA and the glass pyramid in

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