Not surprisingly, then, after his untimely death at just 51, Saarinen was quickly sidelined as a major architect. Though many of his individual buildings continued to be praised, he left behind no definitive style, and more importantly no body of written work that could elucidate his architectural philosophy. "He was not a guru or theoretician whom students studied or chose to follow as devoted disciples. Nor did his work serve as a template or model for our studio projects," said Roger Lewis, an architecture professor at Maryland who studied at MIT in the 1960s, not long after Saarinen completed the university's Kresge Auditorium and Kresge Chapel, his only Boston-area buildings. "My recollection is that we did discuss his work, considering it romantic, aesthetically expressive, metaphoric and, in its formal diversity, unpredictable, which is why it never served as a paradigm."
A fierce and tireless competitor, Saarinen proceeded to win several of the following decade's most sought-after commissions: the TWA terminal, the Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., the US embassy in London, and the CBS headquarters in New York, among others. In 1953 The New York Times dubbed him "the most widely known and respected architect of his generation"; three years later he appeared on the cover of Time magazine. By the time his last buildings were completed, Saarinen had won virtually every major architecture award, including, posthumously, the American Institute of Architects' Gold Medal, its highest honor.
The GM Tech Center was a defining project for Eero Saarinen and Associates, for its magnitude and technological firsts, as well as for the impact that collaborative practices developed during the design phase had on the office's methodology as a whole. The built structures were inseparable from the innovative working methods that contributed to their realization. One could presume that the practice generated on the GM project found a lasting place not only in Saarinen's work but also in that of the many individuals who participated in its creation.
The public encountered [Eero Saarinen's] Miller House on the cover of Home and Garden's February 1959 issue... It served as the magazine's "Hallmark House" for the year, the third in a series selected for "the value of the house in human terms — a measure that comprises exhilarating space to move about in, visual richness to delight the eye, a total environment to nurture the spirits of the people who live in it." The "visual richness" provided by Saarinen's palette of materials and Alexander Girard's interior design was shown to full advantage in the cover image, and the eighteen pages of Ezra Stoller photographers within (six in full color).
The nation’s tallest monument at 630 feet, the Gateway Arch has beckoned visitors for more than 40 years with its iconic, awe-inspiring shape. The vision of renowned architect Eero Saarinen, the Gateway Arch commemorates Thomas Jefferson and St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the United States.
With Eliel Saarinen’s death in 1950, Eero officially launched his career as an independent architect. Throughout the decade, heading the office of Eero Saarinen and Associates, he kept up an intense professional and social schedule, including numerous trips to foreign countries. In 1953 Eero was divorced from Lilian Swann Saarinen (1913– 95), a sculptor who had contributed to the Crow Island School, and the following year married Aline B. Louchheim (1914– 72), an associate art critic for the New York Times, who often examined the relationship between art and society. Assisting him and his office on press relations, she helped Saarinen meet his goal of becoming not only an architect “who contributes to culture,” but also a “person of culture.”
In 1939 Saarinen and his father jointly won the competition for the Smithsonian Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Two years later Saarinen collaborated with Charles Eames to win the "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" competition organized by the Museum of Modern Art, establishing his reputation as a furniture designer.
Eero grew up in a household where drawing and painting were taken very seriously, and a devotion to quality and professionalism were instilled in him at an early age. He was taught that each object should be designed in its "next largest context - a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, environment in a city plan."
In 1923 the Saarinens immigrated to the United States and settled in Michigan, north of Detroit, where Eliel administered the Cranbrook Institute of Architecture and Design. Between 1930 and 1934, Eero studied at the Yale School of Architecture.
The European-born father-and-son team of Eliel Saarinen and Eero Saarinen contributed some of the finest mid-century examples of religious architecture, starting with their First Christian Church in Columbus, Indiana (1942).
The building complex is a series of simple rectangular blocks laid in composition around a central courtyard, originally planned as a reflecting pond. The church plan, vaguely reminiscent of a classical basilica, is a simple asymmetric rectangle.
In the postwar decades of what has been called “the American Century,” Saarinen helped create the international image of the United States with his designs for some of the most potent symbolic expressions of American identity such as St. Louis Gateway Arch (1948-64), General Motors Technical Center (1948-56), Detroit and TWA Terminal (1956-62) at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport