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Profile of the Day: Eero Saarinen

Have you visited the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri? On this day in 1910, architect Eero Saarinen was born.

Image: Eero Saarinen / Library of Congress

Saarinen was born on August 20, 1910 in Kirkkonummi, Finland on his father’s 37th birthday. His father, Eliel Saarinen, was a notable Finnish architect and his mother, Loja Gesellius, was a textile designer and sculptor. When Saarinen was 13, his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Michigan. After studying architecture at Yale, Saarinen returned to Michigan and began his career at his father’s architecture firm. In 1940, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

He first attracted attention for his furniture designs while working with Charles Eames. Then in 1948, he made his first significant architectural breakthrough when he took first prize in the design competition for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (known today as the Gateway Arch National Park) in St. Louis, Michigan. Saarinen would go on to design many more notable buildings across the United States including the TWA Flight Center in New York City and Washington D.C.’s Dulles International Airport.

Saarinen died on September 1, 1961 at the age of 51 while undergoing an operation for a brain tumor. Today he is remembered as one of the masters of American 20th century architecture.

Do you have Finnish ancestry? Explore Eero Saarinen’s family tree on Geni and share your connection to the architect!

View Eero Saarinen’s Geni Profile

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