Eero Saarinen (August 20, 1910 – September 1, 1961) was a Finnish American architect and industrial designer of the 20th century famous for varying his style according to the demands of the project: simple, sweeping, arching structural curves or machine-like rationalism.
Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in St. Louis is one of his most well known designs, even though he did not live to see it completed in 1965.
Eero Sarinen shared the same birthday as his father, Eliel Saarinen. Saarinen emigrated to the United States of America in 1923 at the age of thirteen. He grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where his father was a teacher at the Cranbrook Academy of Art and he took courses in sculpture and furniture design there. He had a close relationship with fellow students Charles and Ray Eames, and became good friends with Florence Knoll (née Schust).
Beginning in September 1929, he studied sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris, France. He then went on to study at the Yale School of Architecture, completing his studies in 1934. Subsequently, he toured Europe and North Africa for a year and returned for a year to his native Finland, after which he returned to Cranbrook to work for his father and teach at the academy. He became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. in 1940. Saarinen was recruited by his friend, who was also an architect, to join the military service in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Saarinen was assigned to draw illustrations for bomb disassembly manuals and to provide designs for the Situation Room in the White House. Saarinen 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”. Eero Saarinen died of a brain tumor in 1961 at the age of 51.
Here are also some great high-lights of Saarinen’s career:
Main terminal of Dulles International Airport at night
Interior of the MIT Chapel
The Swedish Theatre at night
The Tulip chair was designed by Eero Saarinen in 1955 and 1956 for the Knoll company of New York City. It was designed primarily as a chair to match the complementary dining table. The chair has the smooth lines of modernism and was experimental with materials for its time. The chair is considered a classic of industrial design.
And finally… the “Womb” chair and ottoman (1948)
There are so many more works by Saarinen out there. He is a true influence on our modern day architecture and design.