Let’s celebrate 117th birthday for Eero Saarinen, the American architect who was born on August 20th, 1910, on the 37th birthday of his father Eliel Saarinen, Cranbrook Academy of Art’s director. Saarinen was the prince of the American design world during the postwar years, and when he died at the age of 51, America was mourning its stararchitect whose sensational TWA Terminal had just been completed (below). A graduate from the Yale School of Architecture, Saarinen moved back to his hometown Michigan upon graduation, to teach at Cranbrook and to practice architecture with his father. It was in Cranbrook, at the time, America’s most celebrated design academy, that Saarinen met Charles Eames and the two quickly became great friends and forged a partnership that came to shape American mid-century design. Together they designed the groundbreaking collection of molded plywood chairs for the MoMA-sponsored 1940 Organic Design in Home Furnishings competition, and together they designed the influential Case Study House #8, home of Ray and Charles Eames in Pacific Pallisades. In 1953, he married his second wife, art critic and TV host Aline Bernstein Louchheim, and the two named their only son Eames, after his best friend. During Saarinen's relatively short career, he was responsible for some of America’s most iconic buildings and objects, including the Womb Chair, which he designed for Knoll in 1947; the Tulip Chair and Tulip Table, still a key components of the American kitchen; the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis; Gateway Arch in St. Louis; the Noyes dormitory at Vassar; Hill College House at the University of Pennsylvania; the gorgeous MIT Chapel; the University of Chicago Law School building and grounds; the Miller House in Columbus Indiana (above), and more. He served on the jury for the Sydney Opera House commission and was crucial in the selection of the now internationally known design by Jørn Utzon. Lets remember Eero Saarinen and his legacy on his 117th birthday.
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