Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future


Gateway Arch St. Louis

We just saw a screening of this absorbing new PBS American Masters film by producer-director Peter Rosen (no relation). Finnish-American Eero Saarinen was the son of another well-known architect, Eliel. The two worked together, then competed, most notably for the iconic Gateway Arch in St. Louis (son beat father).

Eero had a tragically short life, dying at the age of 51. Yet in a brief span of just over a decade, he created some of America’s outstanding architectural achievements, among them the Gateway Arch, TWA Flight Center at JFK, Dulles International Airport, MIT Kresge Auditorium, GM Technical Center, Yale Ingalls Hockey Rink and CBS Headquarters (“Black Rock”).

What these structures embody is found in this quote from Eero that summarized his reaction to the architecture of the day: “Our architecture is too humble. It should be prouder, more aggressive, much richer and larger than we see today.”

More than architecture makes up the film: His personal stories – competing with his father; two marriages; an estranged son (who finds closure posthumously as Director of Photography on this film); his innovative chair designs with Knoll; and the stunning cinematography – you’ll see architectural photography you’ve never seen before.

A final note, and a sad one. His premature death in 1961 from brain cancer denied him from seeing the completion of many of his his path-breaking accomplishments, including the Gateway Arch and the TWA Flight Center.

Mark your calendar for your PBS station, 8:00pm, Dec. 27.

Ben Rosen


Please take a look at the film’s TRAILER; it’s compelling. Just click here.



TWA Flight Center at JFK



Ingalls Hockey Rink at Yale



MIT Kresge Auditorium

One Response to “Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future”

  1. Technology allows us to see the St. Louis arches as if we were birds…indeed magnificent.

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