Eliel Saarinen

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Gottlieb Eliel Saarinen
BirthplaceRantasalmi, Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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].


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Both were residential schools for practicing artists, overseen by Eliel Saarinen. His son, Eero, also a Cranbrook student, went on to design the CBS headquarters in New York and the winged TWA Flight Center at Kennedy International Airport.
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)
He also noted that Eliel Saarinen's second prize entry "to many Americans, really solved the problem." Walter C.
But the overall design of Quezon Hall shares a resemblance with the Cranbook Art Museum, designed by Eliel Saarinen, in Michigan.
At Cranbrook near Detroit, Eliel Saarinen's home can be visited, while his earlier studio-residence in his native Finland, Hvittrask, is a museum, too.
In 1924, the city commissioned Eliel Saarinen, the architect in residence at Cranbrook, to create a design for a riverfront civic center.
Severance Hall in Cleveland (1930) and that icon of pre-war American architecture Kleinhans in Buffalo by Eliel Saarinen (1940) are perfect examples of this 'new ideal'.
Others, like Eliel Saarinen in Finland and, arguably, C.R.
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.
An early commercial building by Guojon in Reykjavik reflects the influence of Eliel Saarinen in Helsinki; Guojon's Lutheran church in Akureyri, Iceland's second city, and the Roman Catholic church in the capital are both Gothic with art deco touches, and 'deco' is the only term suitable to describe his National Theatre while the main building of the University of Iceland is in a monumental classical manner.
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.
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.