Tracking the modernist masterpieces of the Finnish-American architect.
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There's a lot of great Eero Saarinen action right here in the United States, but he didn't limit his works to the states. One example of his adventures overseas is the Embassy of the United States in London that sits in Grosvenor Square. Finished in 1960, it's one of the largest American diplomatic offices in the world.
The building consists of nine stories, with three of them below ground. The facility is topped with a gilded aluminum Bald Eagle with a wingspan of more than 35 feet. Besides the US embassy in Japan, the London post is the only one situated on land not owned by the American government. Let's just hope the United Kingdom doesn't get any ideas.
Besides handing out visas and other paperwork, the building is traditionally used as the setting for announcing any agreements between the UK and US. Maybe you'll even get to visit on your next trip to London after spending a little too much time at the pub and getting belligerent in the streets!
As you can probably tell, we just can't get enough of Eero Saarinen over here. As we continue to lust over the Finnish-American architect, we travel to Rochester, Minnesota to see the facility he created for one of America's most well-known companies. Construction of IBM Rochester began in 1956 and when first completed, it created 576,000 square feet of work space for the company.
The building has grown over the years and now represents the largest IBM facility in the world under one roof. The Rochester staff has received over 2,700 US patents for product innovation over the years.
If you've been following this week's coverage of Eero Saarinen, then today's focus should be instantly recognizable. Constructed between 1953 and 1955, the Kresge Auditorium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology displays many of the themes that we've seen in his works so far. The building was named in honor of S. S. Kresge, founder of the company that would later become K-Mart. Although not a graduate of MIT, he apparently had some pretty strong cash reserves.
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As we continue to explore the works of Eero Saarinen and his architectural adventures, we move to Indiana. Like his father, Eliel Saarinen, who created the First Christian Church in Columbus, Indiana, the younger Saarinen designed the North Christian Church there as well. Completed in 1964, the church was the last building he designed before his death.
Although Eero Saarinen seemed to have a passion for flight, he must have also had a passion for education--he at very least was able to take advantage of schools with deep pockets. As a prime example, Yale University commissioned Saarinen to design a distinctive hockey rink, and the David S. Ingalls Rink, built between 1953 and 1958, is still going strong today as it continues to hold just shy of 3,500 fans for men's and women's hockey.
If you've been paying attention, then you would know that our architect of the week, Eero Saarinen, designed the TWA terminal at JFK that's soon to become JetBlue's flagship hub. But did you know that Saarinen also designed the main terminal at Washington Dulles International Airport?
He did! And we like it, even if some people don't. Designed by Saarinen in 1958 and dedicated by President Kennedy in 1962, the airport was the first to be specifically created for the jet age. In fact, some design elements such as extended runways were created in hopes of a future for IAD as a spaceport. Although that hasn't happened yet, the design supposedly inspired the construction of the airport in Taipei.
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Everyone has seen the Gateway Arch, at least in pictures, but few realize that it's part of the larger Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Designed by Saarinen, the structure raises 630 feet above the ground and is also 630 feet wide at its base. Besides being instantly recognizable, it's also the largest memorial in the United States.
Although Saarinen passed away four years before the arch was completed, it stands today as probably his most famous achievement. After his death, designer Richard Bowser incorporated a tram to take guests to the top of the arch, something that Saarinen felt was important to add. We're glad he did: Without the unique elevators, the only option to get to the top would be 1,000-plus stairs.