Eero Saarinen, a Finnish-American architect, was considered as one of the masters of 20th century architecture. His neo-futuristic style was a topic of controversies, since it showed no particular style by the architect himself but instead, moulded according to the client, requirements and necessity of the project, making each structure he designed, unique, yet simple and organised. He received multiple awards for his architecture and furniture design throughout his career. Here are 15 of his projects, among many others, that emphasize on his neo-futuristic vision.
1. TWA FLIGHT CENTRE
Built in the early days of airline travel, the TWA Terminal is a concrete symbol of the rapid technological transformations which were fuelled by the outset of the Second World War. Eero Saarinen sought to capture the sensation of flight in all aspects of the building, from a fluid and open interior, to the wing-like concrete shell of the roof. At TWA’s behest, Saarinen designed more than a functional terminal; he designed a monumental tribute to the airline and to aviation itself.
TWA approached Eero Saarinen with the project in 1955. Tellingly, the decision was made by the artistic director of the public relations department – a clear sign of the terminal’s role in advertising the airline. This mandate was even made official in the company’s project commission, which called for efficient ground operations infrastructure that would “provide TWA with advertising, publicity and attention.” Saarinen took the airline’s emphasis on public attention to heart from the beginning, capitalizing on a site that sat at the apex of the airport’s main access road.
2. GATEWAY ARCH
The catenary, an ideal form that exists largely in compression, was the starting point for Saarinen’s design. Sweeping a triangular section of variable size along this curve was the basis for its form. The mathematical catenary was then distorted in order to increase aesthetic impact of the design while still maintaining its structural performativity.
The arch is comprised of steel-clad concrete triangular sections that vary from. It varies in thickness from 54ft (bottom), to 17ft (top). The steel plates are assembled very tightly against each other in order to increase its structural stability and also to increase its aesthetics—making it look even more slender than it is.
3. MIT CHAPEL
Eero Saarinen is one of the most respected architects of the 20th Century, often regarded as a master of his craft. Known for his dynamic and fluid forms, his design for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s chapel takes on a different typology than his previous works. Completed in 1955, the MIT Chapel is a simple cylindrical volume that has a complex and mystical quality within. Saarinen’s simple design is overshadowed by the interior form and light, which were meant to awaken spirituality in the visitor.
Due to the windowless façade, the interior of the chapel is completely masked by the exterior of the volume. Unlike the smooth uninterrupted façade, the interior brick walls undulate around the circumference of the chapel, which creates a new spatial dynamic that is illuminated by the moat that slips into the interior from outside.
4. INGALLS RINK
This hockey rink has a span of 200 feet in length and 85 feet in width, and still has a natural sense of flow and polish. Though the rink is seemingly heavy and brutal it is truly a tensile structure. The main structure comes from a 290-foot-long central arched backbone of reinforced concrete. From this central support the timber roof is “hung” on a cable net structure which gives it the signature double curve. Further cables running from the central arch to the outer edges of the building help stabilize the structure against wind loads. The true beauty within the design is found in its simplicity. Though it may look somewhat complex even in its symmetry, the main rink is simply a rectangular form with filleted edges. This adds emphasis and both literally and figuratively raises its roof to new heights.
5. NORTH CHRISTIAN CHURCH
Just off the highway that leads to the town of Columbus, Indiana, the most slender of spires shoots upward from the tree line. With only a small gold cross at the top suggesting its purpose, the spire seems to belong to another world, an expressive gesture reaching into the sky that extends far beyond its visible tip. As visitors’ approach, the base of the spire it fans out and merges with the ground, subsuming it and metaphysically bridging the distance between the heavens and the Earth. This is the famous North Christian Church, Eero Saarinen’s stunning discourse on God, nature and architecture.
6. KRESGE AUDITORIUM
Kresge Auditorium, designed by Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen, was an experiment in architectural form and construction befitting the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s focus on technology and innovation. This feat of sculptural engineering serves as a meeting house and is part of the cultural, social, and spiritual core of MIT’s campus. Kresge Auditorium is one of Saarinen’s numerous daring, egalitarian designs that captured the optimistic zeitgeist of Post-war America. Throughout his career, Saarinen believed “the purpose of architecture is to shelter and enhance man’s life on Earth and to fulfil his belief in the nobility of his existence.
7. MILLER HOUSE AND GARDEN
Not the first building designed for these clients by Saarinen, the initial intention of Miller and his wife was to create a year-round dwelling that could be used to entertain business guests from around the world, also doubling as a good environment to raise their children. As head of Cummins Engine, their aim was to create civic and institutional buildings in their town located 45 miles from Indianapolis, hoping to transform and reinvent into a hub of inventive design. Eero Saarinen worked with interior designer Alexander Girard and landscaper Daniel Kiley to best fulfil the ideas he had in mind for the house and garden. An architectural tradition developed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, this house encompasses some of the most fundamental aspects of the international Modernist aesthetic, including an open and flowing layout, flat roof and vast stone and glass walls.
8. DULLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Saarinen was chosen for his ability to provide graceful beauty, similar to the nature of flight. When faced with the challenge of designing the terminal’s entrance, he had to create an articulated entrance to stand out against the modern and repetitive structure. He also had the typical challenge of providing graceful access to the building, encountered by automobile, entered and further accessed by foot. Saarinen also included ideas of the main walls of public areas extending from floor to ceiling and cut out of marble several inches thick. The exposed edges eliminate a sense of separation between interior and nature through use of huge panes of glass.
9. MILWAUKEE COUNTY WAR MEMORIAL
Widely noted for his sharply different approach to each of his commissions, here Saarinen opted for right-angled forms executed in muscular, exposed concrete. His proposal responded to its setting on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan with rectangular volumes cantilevering out by 30 feet in three directions supported by hefty columns that surround an open, central court. While the courtyard and the cantilevered blocks accommodated the war memorial and meeting rooms, the two-story podium below the court provided new quarters for the Milwaukee Art Museum in spacious galleries that opened to lakeside terraces.
10. COLLEGE HOUSES
College Houses are a major part of facilitating a community and experience amongst the undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania. The building was unusual for its time, incorporating an interior atrium. Originally the women’s dormitory, Hill is now co-ed and houses only freshmen. There is a dining hall in the lower level of the building. In common with other buildings constructed at the height of the Cold War, the basement of Hill contains a fallout shelter, which links to the University’s utility tunnels. The building was closed for renovation for the entire 2016-2017 school year.
11. THOMAS J. WATSON RESEARCH CENTRE
The Thomas J. Watson Research Centre is the headquarters for IBM Research.The Yorktown Heights building, housing the headquarters of IBM Research, is situated on private land not generally accessible to the public, is a large crescent-shaped structure consisting of three levels with 40 aisles each, radiating out from the centre of the circle described as the crescent. Due to this construction, none of the offices have windows. The lowest level is partially underground in some areas toward the shorter side of the crescent, which also leads to the employee parking lots. A large overhang protrudes from the front entryway of the building, and faces the visitor parking lot. The building houses a library, an auditorium and a cafeteria.
12. VIVIAN BEAUMONT
The Vivian Beaumont differs from traditional Broadway theatres because of its use of stadium seating and its thrust stage configuration.
Located on the Vivian Beaumont’s planted green roof, the Claire Tow Theatre seats 112 people in a fixed configuration
It also houses rehearsal space, dressing quarters, offices, and a pocket lobby with a bar. The structure is wrapped inside a grille of aluminium louvers that help screen out the sun. In designing the interior, he used simple materials, stained oak for the lobby floors and walnut for the theatre’s sloping walls.
13. DEERE & CO.
Within the building are offices for over 900 staff members and an auditorium with 350 seats. The facility also houses the world’s largest agricultural museum taking you through the history of farming and the company’s creation in 1837. This museum is located between the display room and grounds.
The grounds are open seven days a week and are free to all to enter and see, between 9:00am and 5:00pm on weekdays, but check for weekend times also.
As well as many historical items it is possible to see some of the more modern machines made by John Deere,
The buildings were designed by the Finnish architect Eero Saarinen, who died before its construction was complete, only four days after he signed the contract for the newest building.
14. CBS BUILDING
The building was the result of intricate planning between Eero Saarinen and CBS’s then-president, Frank Stanton. Its concrete structural system was developed by Mario Salvadori.
Unlike some major skyscrapers built in that section of midtown Manhattan during the 1950s and 60s, its pillars are more dominant than its windows. It received its nickname “Black Rock” for its dark granite cladding.
15. THE EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES
The Embassy of the United States of America in London is the diplomatic mission of the United States in the United Kingdom.The building has nine storeys, three of which are below ground. A large gilded aluminiumbald eagle by Theodore Roszak,with a wingspan of over 11 metres (35 feet), is situated on the roof of the Chancery Building, making it a recognizable London landmark.In October 2009, the building was granted Grade II listed status.The building has been described as a modernist classic and an architectural gem.