His other firm conviction was that architecture had to mirror life. So for the Mesa Laboratory at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado he hiked among thesandstone hills, finding inspiration for his sculptural, reddish, thick-walled towers in Native-American cliff-dwellings.
His CityHall in Dallas, a boldly cantilevered wedge of glass and steel facing the commercial district, reflected the vaunting Texan pride he found there. He built the Kennedy Library to evoke the man, and its towering empty spaceframe, flooded with light and hung with an American flag, summed up both limitless optimism and the country's loss. For the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, a tower with a pyramid protruding and a wedge driven through it, he prepared his mind by venturing, for the first time, to rock concerts.
For his Doha commission he studied Islam and explored the Islamic world, discovering his dome-and-cube ideal in the oldest mosquein Cairo. And when considering the Louvre he impishly took a cue from Napoleon's fascination with the pyramids on the Nile. Regard for tradition and context did not ward off the doubters, but it helped. So did his punctiliousness about finish and materials. Everything had to be built well: built to last, and to be beautiful. His trademark lattices of glass were devised to admit as much lightas possible, sometimes by angling the thousands of crystalline facets, sometimes by connecting them with rods so thin they weremore like a spiderweb.