Eero Saarinen

Eero Saarinen was one of the Masters of 20th century design. His Tulip chairs and tables are still extremely popular. However, he also followed in his father's footsteps as an innovative architect. These are his five most famous buildings.

General Motors Technical Center


  • Location: Warren, Michigan, USA
  • Completed: 1955

The GM 'Tech Center' was officially opened on 16 May 1956 by the American President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It comprises 38 buildings, 18 kilometres of roads and space for over 21,000 employees. This was Saarinen's first major project after he left his father's firm. The Tech Center was already described as 'an industrial Versailles’ when it opened. The architectural style and methods used resulted in new assignments from IBM and Bell Labs, among others. In 2014, the building was proclaimed a National Historic Landmark.

Kresge Auditorium, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


  • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  • Completed: 1955

Saarinen designed the auditorium in conjunction with the nearby chapel. The most striking elements are the large glass panels and the thin roof, which weighs just 1,200 tons and only needed its sidewalls to support it. This provided everyone in the auditorium with an unobstructed view. Free-hanging acoustic 'clouds' ensure the perfect acoustics. The building houses a concert hall, a smaller theatre, rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, offices, bathrooms and lounges.

United States Embassy


  • Location: London, England
  • Completed: 1960

In 1960, the first embassy actually designed as an embassy opened in London. The impressive building on Grosvenor Square, the largest Western European embassy, is also the only building designed by Eero Saarinen in the United Kingdom. For his plans the architect derived inspiration from the Doge's Palace in Venice. The result was a building comprising nine floors, three of which are underground, with 600 rooms and space for 750 employees. In January 2018, the American embassy moved to a new building in Nine Elms.

TWA Flight Center, John F. Kennedy International Airport

Eero Saarinen


  • Location: New York, New York, USA
  • Completed: 1962

The TWA Flight Center was the terminal used for all Trans World Airlines flights from or to John F. Kennedy International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world. Today it is part of the JetBlue Airways terminal. Thanks to the thin, wing-shaped double roof and the large windows it is perhaps the most iconic of Saarinen's designs. "We wanted passengers passing through the building to experience a fully-designed environment in which each part arises from another and everything belongs to the same formal world."

Gateway Arch


  • Location: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
  • Completed: 1965

The Gateway Arch is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park, which was created to commemorate the Western conquest of America. The 192- metre long, stainless steel arch is the largest man-made monument in North and South America. Saarinen's father had also submitted a design and was accidentally informed that he had successfully made it through as one of the finalists. When the message arrived two hours later that his son was still in the running, and not him, he opened a second bottle of champagne to celebrate.

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