Saarinen, Eero

Saarinen, Eero āˈrō säˈrĭnĕn [key], 1910–61, Finnish-American architect, grad. Yale (B.A., 1934), became an American citizen in 1940; son of Eliel Saarinen. Saarinen's reputation was established with his design of the General Motors Technical Center, Warren, Mich. (1951–55). His architectural innovations are significant, particularly in domical construction. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology he built (1955) the circular brick chapel as well as the auditorium, notable for its thin-shelled concrete dome. He followed the principles of suspension-bridge construction in the David S. Ingalls Hockey Rink at Yale (1958). Saarinen created soaring intersecting concrete vaults for the building many consider his masterpiece, the Trans World Airlines Terminal at Kennedy International Airport, New York City (completed 1962). His most famous commission, however, is probably the Gateway Arch (designed 1948, completed 1965) at St. Louis, a monumental 630-ft-high (192-m) curve of stainless steel. His sole skyscraper is the CBS building (1960–64), New York City, a reinforced concrete tower with an elegant skin of glass and dark granite. He also created many collegiate buildings, including those at Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Ind.; Vassar; and the Univ. of Chicago; and designed the American embassies at Oslo (1959) and London (1960). Saarinen died before the completion of two of his greatest projects, Dulles International Airport (1962) near Herndon, Va., and two polygonal college buildings at Yale.

See Eero Saarinen On His Work, ed. by A. Saarinen (rev. ed. 1968); E. Stoller, The TWA Terminal (1999); studies by B. Carter (2003), A Román (2003), and J. Merkel (2005).

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