Eero Saarinen, FAIA (1910-1961) was one of the most celebrated architects of his time. The son of Eliel Saarinen, internationally acclaimed architect, Eero was a leader of the second-generation modernist architects who advanced architectural form from new construction technologies and expanded modernism’s vocabulary beyond “the measly ABC.”
His simple abstract compositions led to exuberant visual effects. His architecture was based on historical references and contextual responses. Believing in the uniqueness of each project, Eero Saarinen was criticized for inventing a new style for every job.
He attracted powerful clients, and was a “person of culture” and one “who contributes to culture.”
He captured the optimism of the mid-20th century, with the national ideal of unbounded choice, epic monumentality and iconic design, all in the pursuit of the sublime in architecture.
Eero Saarinen’s iconic works include the General Motors Technical Center, the JNEM – the Gateway Arch, the Trans World Airlines Terminal, NY and the Dulles International Airport Terminal.
His technological innovations included self-rusting Cor-Ten steel, the first mirror glass curtain wall, the world’s thinnest exterior wall panel and colorful glazed brick walls.
Saarinen developments included the new office typology and the corporate campus.
Eero Saarinen believed that “Each age must create its own architecture out if its own technology and one which is expressive of its own Zeitgeist – the spirit of the time.”
Eero Saarinen left a remarkable body of work, and a legacy of innovation, collaboration and media savvy which continues to inform architectural practice today.
In 1962, Eero Saarinen, FAIA was the third architect to posthumously receive the AIA Gold Medal.
Eero’s father, Eliel Saarinen, FAIA received the AIA Gold Medal in 1947.