Eliel Saarinen

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Gottlieb Eliel Saarinen
BirthplaceRantasalmi, Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire

Saarinen, Eliel


Born Aug. 20, 1873, in Rantasalmi, Finland; died June 30, 1950, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., USA. Finnish architect, the founder of national romantic Finnish architecture.

From 1893 to 1897, Saarinen studied painting at the University of Helsinki and architecture at the Helsinki. Polytechnic Institute. His early work, which was done in collaboration with H. Gesellius and A. Lindgren, combined the techniques and materials (wood, granite) of folk architecture with the artistic devices of late-19th-century British architects (C. F. Voysey, P. Webb) and the proponents of the German Jugend-stil. An example is the Finnish pavilion for the Paris Exhibition of 1900. Saarinen’s design for the Helsinki railroad station (designed in 1904, built from 1910 to 1914) is distinguished by a general picturesqueness and an abundance of figurative ornamentation (including sculpture). At the same time, the station is marked by a rational organization of space. The Helsinki railroad station was the culminating work of Finnish national romanticism.

In 1923, Saarinen settled in the United States. His work of the 1920’s and 1930’s pays homage to the stylization of Gothic revival and neoclassicism. Beginning in 1937, at which time he worked with his son, Eero, he combined rationalist plans with traditional architectural elements (for example, Christ Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minn., 1950).

Saarinen’s early, unrealized urban planning projects, especially his decentralized plan for Greater Helsinki, had a considerable influence on the theory and practice of urban planning in Finland and the Scandinavian countries after World War II.


Munkkiniemi-Haagaja Suur-Helsinki. Helsinki, 1915.
The City: Its Growth, Its Decay, Its Future. New York [1943].
Search for Form. New York [1948].


Christ-Janer, A. Eliel Saarinen. Chicago [1948].


References in periodicals archive ?
Hood and John Mead (USA), the 1st place; b--design project by Eliel Saarinen (Finland), the 2nd place; and c-- design project by Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer (Germany)
Architects like Eliel Saarinen, Pietro Belluschi, Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer not only found homes in the US, but had a significant impact in shaping both its architectural discourse and its buildings.
I have a huge admiration for Finland, that remote country with a small population speaking an obscure language that has given the music of Sibelius to the world and produced several great architects--not just Aalto but also Eliel Saarinen and that master of granite with the deliciously euphonious name, Sibelius's architect, Lairs Sonck.
Eliel Saarinen worked with Booth over a period of some 25 years both to shape the educational philosophy of Cranbrook and transform over 300 acres of farmland into one of the finest examples of integrated architecture and landscape design in North America.
The Natatorium is a distinguished addition to the Cranbrook campus that, without shallow historicist quotation, respects and strengthens the integrated vision of architecture and landscape developed by Eliel Saarinen.
Hector Guimard in Paris, Horta in Belgium, Mackintosh in Glasgow, Eliel Saarinen and Lars Sonck in Helsinki, and my favourite architect, Antonio Gaudi, in Barcelona -- all became momentary leaders of a major public architecture, if only for three or four years.
Eliel Saarinen was the first Finnish architect who dreamt of the city as an integrated work of art and commerce.
Aalto and Eliel Saarinen are Finland's most famous architects.
The transformation from vision to reality both in the design of the estate and in the development of its educational philosophy - was achieved through a 25-year partnership between Booth and Eliel Saarinen, who came to the United States after being awarded second place in Chicago Tribune Tower competition in 1922.
The Beverly Glen house, judged by William Wurster and Eliel Saarinen to `best exemplify sound progress in design,'(3) was a simple, single-room, handmade affair in glass and redwood.