Saarinen, Eero

Saarinen, Eero

biographical name


Eero Saarinen seated in one of the chairs he designed; photograph by Arnold Newman, 1948.—© Arnold Newman

(born Aug. 20, 1910, Kirkkonummi, Fin.—died Sept. 1, 1961, Ann Arbor, Mich., U.S.) Finnish-born U.S. architect. His father, Eliel Saarinen (1873–1950), was the foremost Finnish architect of his time; his major works include the Helsinki railway station (1904–14) and—after immigrating to the U.S. in 1923—the buildings of the Cranbrook Foundation, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (1925–41). Eero joined his father's practice after studying at Yale. His vast General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Mich. (1948–56), was followed in 1948 by his design for the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Mo. (completed 1965). In the Kresge Auditorium and chapel at MIT (1955), Cambridge, Mass., he used a “handkerchief” dome resting on three points for the auditorium and a stark red-brick cylinder for the chapel. His TWA terminal at Kennedy International Airport (1956–62), New York City, employs two cantilevered concrete shells that extend dramatically outward, suggesting wings. Like many contemporary architects, Saarinen was challenged by furniture design, especially the chair. He is remembered in particular for a chair in molded plywood he designed with Charles Eames; a womblike chair using a glass-fibre shell upholstered in foam rubber and fabric; and a series of pedestal-based chairs and tables that combined a sculptural aluminum base with plastic shells for the chairs and disks of marble or plastic for the table tops.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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