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Eero Saarinen

AR 6502 - History of Architecture and Culture V

Done by:
Prarthna Roy
Naga Srikanth
Jenish Bishop

• Birth: August 20, 1910

Kirkkonummi, Finland
• Parents: Eliel and Louise Saarinen
• Emigrated to the United States in 1923 at age 13, grew up in Michigan.
• Studied sculpture in Paris in September 1929
• Went on to study at Yale School of Architecture, completing in 1934.
• Toured Europe & North Africa for a year and visited his native Finland for a year
before returning to work in his father’s firm.

• First worked under his father’s firm “Saarinen, Swansen and Associates” co-
owned by Robert Swansen who took over the firm after Eliel’s death in 1950.
• First received critical recognition while still working for his father, for the “Tulip
chair” designed together with his friend Charles Eames for a competition in
• Won the first prize in the 1948 competition for the Gateway Arch National Park
in St. Louis, the award for which was mistakenly sent to his father.
• Designed many furniture pieces during his association with Knoll such as the
“Grasshopper Lounge chair” and the “Womb chair and ottoman”.
• First major work in collaboration with his father was the General Motors
Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, constructed in 1956.
• Served on the jury for the Sydney Opera House commission in 1957, picking out
Jorn Utzon’s design among several discarded ones, leading to its selection.
• After his father’s death in July 1950, he founded his own firm “Eero Saarinen and
Associates” of which he was the principal partner from 1950 until his death in
• He is considered as one of the masters of American 20th century architecture,
noted for his neo-futuristic style, with simple, sweeping, arching structural
• Some of his best known works are the IBM and CBS Headquarters buildings in
corporate building design.
• His best known university building & campus projects include Hill College House
at the University of Pennsylvania, the MIT Chapel and the neighbouring Kresge
Auditorium, and the University of Chicago Law School building and grounds.
• His best known works country-wide include The Gateway Arch National Park
(including the arch), TWA Flight Center at the John F. Kennedy International
Airport, the main terminal of the Washington Dulles International Airport, and
the US Embassy in London which opened in 1960.
• In 1940, he received two first prizes together with Charles Eames in the furniture
design competition of MoMA. In 1948, he won the first prize in the Jefferson
National Monument competition.
• He was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1952 and the
National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1954.
• He received the First Honour award of the American Institute of Architects twice
in 1955 & 1956. In 1962, he was posthumously awarded a gold medal by the
American Institute of Architects.

• Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context a chair in a

room , a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city
• Built on his predecessors work using new construction technology to create
modern architectural forms, but disparaged the simple, abstract compositions
of early modernism. He refused to develop singular style, preferring to flex the
designs to the needs of the clients.
• He designed buildings in a irregular and fluid manner using concrete as major
building material.

Womb chair Tulip chair

• The Arch is known as the "Gateway to the West“, completed in
• It stands 630 feet (192 m) tall, and is 630 feet (192 m) at its widest
• The cross-sections of its legs are equilateral triangles, narrowing
from 54 feet (16.5 m) per side at the base to 17 feet (5.2 m) at the
• Each wall consists of a stainless steel skin covering reinforced
concrete from ground level to 300 feet (91 m) or carbon steel and
rebar from 300 feet (91 m) to the peak.
• The interior of the Arch is hollow and contains a unique transport
system leading to an observation deck at the top.
• The interior of the Arch also contains two emergency stairwells of
1076 steps each, in the event of a need to evacuate the Arch or if a
problem develops with the tram system
• Underneath the Arch is a visitor center, entered from a
descending outdoor ramp starting at either base.
• The design created a smooth passage through the
• The final solution consisted of creating 4 adjacent RC
shells counterbalancing each other.
• Final scheme used 3 different sized configurations of
curved, diamond shaped shells supported by 4
curvilinear shaped columns, coincidentally making the
structure’s design look like a bird ready to take off or
• Its expressive form allows the building to stand out
against its contemporaries.
• It serves as a major hub for United Airlines and a focus city for
Jet Blue Airways.
• The airport occupies approximately 11,000 acres (17.19 mi²/
44.5 km²) of land 26 miles (41.8 km) west of downtown
Washington, straddling the border of Fairfax County and
Loudoun County, Virginia.
• It is located partly in Chantilly and partly in Dulles, west of
Herndon and southwest of Sterling.
• The main terminal is highly regarded for its graceful beauty,
suggestive of flight.
• Dulles expanded in the 1980s and 1990s, operations outgrew
the main terminal and new midfield concourses were
constructed, using mobile lounges to bring passengers to the
main terminal. An underground tunnel consisting of a
passenger walkway and moving sidewalks was opened in
2004 which links the main terminal .
• The terminal ceiling is suspended in an elegant curve above
the luggage check-in area.
• There are two sets of gates in the main terminal. The main
terminal is a very well regarded building; its roof is a
suspended catenary providing a wide enclosed area
unimpeded by columns. It houses ticketing, baggage claim,
and information facilities, as well as the International Arrivals
Building for passenger processing.