Tag: Eero Saarinen

The powerful and beautiful Dulles Airport

Eero Saarinen was an architect who was also trained as a sculptor and it shows in his best buildings such as Dulles Airport and Yale’s Ice Skating Rink.  But people have to ride the mobile lounges back from the planes and they hate that and therefore hate Dulles.  They have no way of knowing how much Saarinen’s mobile lounges were an improvement over the buses previously used at airports, nor do travelers know of the airlines’ efforts to sabotage Dulles through inconvenient scheduling.

The sweep of the Dulles roof, the columns pushing through the roof, and then grabbing the lip of the roof conveys power and tension, and the sense of jet travel.

President Kennedy dedicated the airport in 1962, the next year he was assassinated, two years after Saarinen died at  age 51.ImageImageImageImage .

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Two more masterpieces by Eero Saarinen

The MIT Chapel, “made possible by the generosity of the Kresge Foundation”, was dedicated in 1955.  It sits close to busy and noisy Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge so the textured brick wall forms an attractive, visual and spiritual barrier between the circular chapel and the major street running from Boston through Cambridge to the more distinct suburbs.

The hanging metal screen behind the altar was designed by Harry Bertoia, a long time collaborator and friend of Saarinen.

(c)Bill Lebovich, all rights reserved,2013.

Behind the Chapel is Kresge Auditorium, dedicated the same year and funded by Kresge.ImageImageImageImage

Eero Saarinen’s TWA terminal, JFK Airport,NY

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Shoot through window of another terminal.

Saarinen, who studied sculpture in Paris before going to architecture school,pushed technology to create his unique visions.  During his lifetime, and maybe even now, some architects and critics were dismissive because he did not design and build in one style.

“Style” is a much overused concept.  The belief that all structures can even be catalogued by style distorts the history of architecture and distracts from carefully looking at the building and deciding what the architect and client were trying to achieve, whether they did achieve it, and if it was worth trying to achieve.

(c) Bill Lebovich, all rights reserved, 2013.