Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future

Installation view, (c) Tarja Tuppurainen


Installation view (c) Tarja Tuppurainen

Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future (2006–2010) was a comprehensive, large-scale international project exploring the work of architect Eero Saarinen. The project consisted of three key components: exhibition, publication, and research database. It explored the architect’s entire life’s work of more than fifty completed and proposed projects.

From the swooping concrete vaults of the TWA terminal at JFK Airport to the 630-foot-tall Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the iconic designs of Eero Saarinen (1910-1961) captured the aspirations and values of mid-twentieth century America. Potent expressions of national power – such as the General Motors Technical Center and the Dulles International Airport Terminal – helped create the international image of the United States in the decades following World War 2.

The exhibition, curated by Donald Albrecht, featured full-scale building mock-ups, never-before-seen drawings, models, photographs, films, and ephemera. The exhibition toured in Helsinki, Finland; Oslo, Norway; Brussels, Belgium; and in the US in Cranbrook, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, St. Louis New York and New Haven.

The Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future project was organized by the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, the Museum of Finnish Architecture, and the National Building Museum, with the support of the Yale University School of Architecture. The 380-page, lavishly illustrated publication was published by Yale University Press.



ASSA ABLOY was the global exhibition sponsor, Ruukki, Deko and Metroradio Finland were local sponsors. Support for the initial research project phase of the project was granted by the Getty Foundation and the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

Additional support was provided by Florence Knoll Bassett, Agnes Gund, Elise Jaffe and Jeffrey Brown, Jefftey Klein, Earle I. Mack, Marvin Suomi, anonymous donors, the City of Helsinki, Helsingin Sanomat Foundation and the Finnish Cultural Foundation. 

The exhibition publication was made possible with the support of the Embassy of the United States of America in Finland. Artek was the exhibition partner in Helsinki.

The Book Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and Furthermore: A Program of J.M. Kaplan Fund.