1. Home

Discuss in my forum

Eero Saarinen, Finnish-American Architect

(1910-1961)

By

Black and white photo c. 1960, Eero Saarinen, eyeglasses, gesturing, talking while seated at desk

Architect Eero Saarinen, c. 1960

Photo by Hulton Archive/Stringer/ Collection: Archive Photos / Getty Images
Yale University, David S. Ingalls Rink. Eero Saarinen, architect.

Yale University, David S. Ingalls Rink. Eero Saarinen, architect.

Photograph: Michael Marsland
Closeup of Gateway Arch in St. Louis

Closeup of Gateway Arch in St. Louis

Photo ©Chris Brown, zoonabar on flickr.com, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Whether designing furniture, airports, or grand monuments, Eero Saarinen was famous for innovative, sculptural forms.

Born:

August 20, 1910 in Kirkkonummi, Finland

Died:

During surgery on September 1, 1961 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Eero Saarinen was 51.

Childhood:

Eero Saarinen's father, Eliel Saarinen, was a prominent architect. In 1923, when Eero was 13, the family moved to the United States. Eliel Saarinen became the first president of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, where he also taught. Eero Saarinen studied under his father and befriended fellow students Charles and Ray Eames.

Education:

  • Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan
  • Académie de la Grande Chaumiére in Paris, studied sculpture, 1929-1930
  • Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Architecture degree completed in 1934
  • Traveled in Europe on scholarship, 1934-1935

Early Career:

Eero Saarinen began his career designing furniture in collaboration with Charles Eames. Their work was featured in the 1940 exhibition "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Famous Buildings by Eero Saarinen:

Other Works by Saarinen:

Eero Saarinen was also a product designer. He designed furniture with curving, organic shapes. Examples include the Tulip chair and a collection of Pedestal tables (see pictures and compare prices). Saarinen said the objective of these furniture designs was to rid interiors of clutter and clear the "slum of legs" from the home.

Source: The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 220 (online)

More About Eero Saarinen:

Although Eero Saarinen's early education was grounded in Art Nouveau, he was drawn to the streamlined International Style. However, Saarinen's most famous works, like the TWA Terminal at Kennedy Airport, are sweeping and expressive. Eero Saarinen is often cited as a master of Neo-expressionism.

The world's largest and most comprehensive collection of Eero Saarinen's papers may be found in the Yale University Sterling Memorial Library Manuscripts and Archives. Saarinen's colleague Kevin Roche donated the firm's collection of Saarinen's original drawings, correspondence, photographs, and other materials. Saarinen's wife, Aline Saarinen, gave the library many papers and personal records.

What's your favorite work by Eero Saarinen? Tell us!

  1. About.com
  2. Home
  3. Architecture
  4. Famous Architects
  5. Architects A-Z
  6. Eero Saarinen, Finnish-American Architect

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.