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Eero Saarinen

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA
Eero Saarinen, checking out his model of the Gateway Arch
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Eero Saarinen, checking out his model of the Gateway Arch
COURTESY YALE UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES / EERO SAARINEN COLLECTION

Eero Saarinen (August 20, 1910 – September 1, 1961) was a Finnish American architect and furniture designer. He emmigrated with his parents to the United States from finland in 1923 at the age of thirteen. He grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where his father, the architect Eliel Saarinen, tought at the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Eeero Saarinen studied sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris, France. Subsequently, he studied architecture at Yale where he completed his studies in 1934. After touring Europe and North Africa for a year and a stay in his native Finland, he returned to the United States in 1936. There he worked in his father’s architectural practice and also taught at Cranbrook Academy. It was here that Eero Saarinen met Charles Eames. Together they experimented on new furniture forms and produced the first designs for furniture made from moulded plywood. In 1940, they submitted a joint entry to the “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” competition held by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Eero Saarinen went on to design numerous iconic furniture pieces, most notably for Knoll International.

In 1940 Saarinen became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. Thereafter he joined the military service in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) where he was assigned to draw illustrations for bomb disassembly manuals and provide designs for the Situation Room in the White House. He worked full time for the OSS until 1944. After his father's death in 1950, Saarinen founded his own architect's office, "Eero Saarinen and Associates". The firm was later renamed in Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates.

Saarinen developed a remarkable range which depended on color, form and materials. Saarinen showed a marked dependence on innovative structures and sculptural forms, but not at the cost of pragmatic considerations. He easily moved back and forth between the International Style and Expressionism, utilizing a vocabulary of curves and cantilevered forms. The TWA Terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York is considered to be his architectural masterpiece.

Eero Saarinen died at he age of 51 from a brain tumor in 1961 while he was working on the building of the Dulles International Airport in Washington.

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA
grolberg, March 16th, 2016