In 1974 he managed to return; later he built, for the government, a hotel complex at Fragrant Hill outside Beijing. He seized on this as a chance to wean the Chinese away from their drab eastern European blocks and back to the domestic traditions they had lost. But their break with the past had been too definite; they now wanted to copy the West, and did not care for the old motifs he combined with his geometry and glass.
He did better with the Bank of China Tower for the bank his father had run, where his shaft of 70 slim, dark storeys, criss-crossed with white lines, was based on the angular growth of bamboo. Visiting shrines in the mountains once in childhood, he thought he heard the bamboo growing. Those mountains, like the gardens, led him to seek tranquillity in the buildings he designed. They sometimes seemed too exciting for that: sweeping stairways, soaring glass, razor-sharp angles,scintillating slopes.
But at their heart lay those perfect forms, triangle, circle and square. Water often lay nearby, offering both transparency and reflection. A pyramid with water round it, as at the Louvre, was the very essence of serenity: harmony of structure and spirit. It might take time to make its case; architecture was a slow art. But as it moved from newness to permanence, he felt beamingly sure that Parisians would agree with him.