Eero Saarinen

Posted July 2, 1956

“The Maturing Modern”

July 2, 1956 TIME magazine cover story on ARCHITECT EERO SAARINEN

 Excerpts: “As Saarinen’s contemporaries long ago discovered, there is a dynamo of relentless energy behind his easygoing facade. A round-the-clock worker, he sets such high standards of perfection that on occasion he holds his draftsmen and designers at their drafting tables straight through the night, is so prodigal with money for research that he recently spent $12,000 to win a competition that guaranteed only $1,000 in expenses. But judged by the results, Saarinen’s total approach pays off. His work has won the applause of glass and steel purists, yet pleased clients who include small-town bankers, a Midwest Lutheran synod, university presidents, and the giants among U.S. corporations — General Motors, T.W.A., International Business Machines, et al.”

“Designer Eames, on the scene at the time, will never forget Eero Saarinen’s approach to his first major national competition, the firm’s entry for a new Smithsonian Art Gallery in Washington, D.C. Says Eames: “I remember Eero thought out the whole thing carefully, and then told us that the first thing to do would be to make 100 studies of each element that went into the building. We would then pick the best, and never let our standards fall below that. Then we would make 100 studies of the combinations of each element — the placing of the sinks in the ladies’ rooms for instance. Then 100 studies of the combinations of the combinations. When they whole thing was finished, Eero was almost in tears, because it was so simple. And then, of course, he won the competition.”