A legacy of art-in-the sky

     (AAPNW-MO) –  The St. Louis Arch soars, gleaming untarnished against the bright blue Midwestern skies, a powerful welcoming for those choosing to pioneer west. It is an architectural design at its finest that garnishes America’s Gateway to the West and does exactly what author Eero Saarinen declared it would: a lasting significant landmark for our time. The 630 Foot tall ‘masterpiece’ is made of stainless steel, concreted 60 feet deep in the ground, was built to withstand all types of monstrous storms and Act-of-God catastrophes.

     In 1948, 1st place was awarded to Saarinen and he began to physically create his idea. ‘All parts of an arch composition must be parts of the same form-world majestically from a small forest set on the edge of a great river.’  To the east from 63 stories high, one can observe the Mississippi River in Illinois.  To the west lies St. Louis, Missouri, sprawling for miles, all held within a green forest. After much planning and financing, the ‘Arch’ was finally started in February of 1963 and completed in October of 1965. Saarinen died in 1961 from a brain tumor at the age of 51, never being able to witness his grand achievement but leaving great legacies for all of us to enjoy.

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       Born in Finland in 1910, to a noted and respected architect father, by which they share the same birthday, August 20, and a mother, who was a professional sculptor, weaver and photographer, Eero Saarinen, in 1923 and at the age of thirteen came to the United States, growing up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where his father was a teacher at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, taking courses in sculpture and furniture design. In 1929, he went on to study sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris, France and then completed his education in 1934 at the Yale School of Architecture. After graduation, he toured Europe, North Africa, including his native Finland before returning to the U.S., to teach at Cranbrook and not only work with his father, but also after becoming a naturalized citizen in 1940, he joined the military service in the Office of Strategic Services, where he drew illustrations for bomb disassembly manuals as well as designs for the Situation Room in the White House. After his father’s death in 1950, Saarinen founded his own architect’s office, “Eero Saarinen and Associates.”

     In addition to creating the St. Louis Arch, among some others, he is also credited for the design of the GM Technical Center near Detroit, the TWA Terminal in New York City and Dulles International Airport near Washington DC, including North Christian Church (1964) in Columbus, Indiana, however he first received critical recognition for a chair designed together with Charles Eames for the “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” competition in 1940, for which they received first prize. The “Tulip Chair” became the basis of the seating used on the original Star Trek television series.

     To acquire more biographical information on Saarinen, see your local library or Wikipedia.

Published by on March 2011. Filed under Archives, Art-to-Art Palette Journal, Bugle Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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