An architect with ties to St. Louis whose work I have always admired is Finnish-American Eero Saarinen, who was known as a leader of the second-generation modernists. In 1947, he designed the magisterial Gateway Arch, built to commemorate the westward expansion of the US. A futuristic symbol, it rises above the cityscape of St. Louis and is a great example of how Eero constantly pushed aesthetic boundaries.
He was born in Kirkkonummi, Finland in 1910, to world-famous parents. His father was the architect Eliel Saarinen and his mother, Loja Gesellius, was a textile designer and sculptor. The family moved to the US in 1923, where they settled first in Evanston, Illinois, and then in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In 1929 Eero studied sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. From 1931 to 1934, he studied architecture at Yale University, where the curriculum was rooted in traditional theories. He won a fellowship that made it possible for him to travel Europe in 1934–35.
Eero joined his father’s practice in Bloomfield Hills in 1938. Together, they designed Crow Island School in Winnetka, Illinois, which influenced post-war school design. Eero went on to create sculptural forms that introduced visual drama to architecture.
For those bored by the austerity and uniformity of the boxy International Style of modern architecture, his work was different and exciting. His swooping, soaring curves gave his architecture a sense of taking flight.
Among his outstanding projects are the Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC, the TWA Terminal at Kennedy International Airport, and the CBS headquarters in New York.
As a boy growing up and watching the Gateway Arch come to life, it had a mesmerizing effect on my imagination. Still today, I think it is one of the very best actualized architecture masterpieces in the world. My friend and premier global architect Daniel Libeskind told me he was so enthralled with the Arch that he took his wife Nina to visit it on their honeymoon in 1969 and again on their 40th anniversary.
What continues to inspire me about Eero’s designs was his love for exploration and experiment and his desire to move boldly toward the future. He died of a brain tumor in 1961 at the age of 51, and although his life was tragically cut short, he lives on through the structures that he created and the enormous impact he had on American architecture during the 1950s.
Emily Sisson and I have something in common, and it’s not just the fact that we both love athleticism.
Immigration has always been a critical point of value in America’s prosperity. The “American Dream” would not be possible without the contribution of generations of immigrants to society, not to mention the priceless importance of multiculturalism. Despite this, the rhetoric surrounding immigration and its influence on U.S. institutions and ways of life has become increasingly hostile and rooted in misinformation. I recently read the book “How Migration Really Works: The Facts About the Most Divisive Issue in Politics” by Hein de Haas. I highly recommend it to everyone to better understand migration policies and national impact. As we get farther into this election year, debates surrounding immigration are escalating. Still, people don’t understand the fundamentals of migration or how it truly affects the U.S. To mitigate this, Hein de Haas draws on decades of research to destroy myths and set the record straight. The book highlights tense topics like global migration not being at an all-time high, climate change not leading to mass migration, and immigration mainly benefiting the wealthy instead of workers. He also notes that border restrictions have produced more migration – something that is commonly misreported and viewed as the only “solution” to the migration “problem.”
When our Clayco team finds a company that mirrors our mission and determination, we fortify that partnership by pooling resources on as many projects as possible. Vision Electric & Systems is one of Clayco’s excellent subcontractors that we have had the pleasure of working on several developments with. Subcontractors play a pivotal role by bringing multifaceted advantages and expertise across construction efforts.