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Eliel Saarinen

Eliel Saarinen (1873 - 1950) was a Finnish architect, who became famous for his art nouveau buildings in the early years of the 20th century.

Plans for the development of Helsinki central in a monumental style, a plan which never was accomplished

Moved to the USA in the 1920s and continued there to plan offices and public buildings and on a teacher of architecture


The Finnish-born Eliel Saarinen studied architecture and painting in Helsinki and received his architect's diploma in 1897. Together with to friends of student's days, Gesellius and Lindgren, he established an architect's office already in 1896.

Eliel Saarinen was designer of the Finnish National Museum in Helsinki (1902-1911) and the Railway Stations of Helsinki (1904-1919) and Vyborg (1904-1913). Saarinen took part in the international city planning competitions for Canberra, Budapest and Tallinn (in 1911-1913). After success in the competition for the Chicago Tribune Tower (1922) Saarinen moved to the United States (1923). Besides other major objects he developed the concept and designed the complete area of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and School near Detroit. Here he lived until his death in 1950. For the dining room of the academy's president (which in fact was himself!) he designed the famous Side Chair, one of his masterpieces, and for his wife's studio the Blue Chair (both 1929).

Eliel Saarinen's son, Eero (1910-1961), was also an important architect, one of the leaders of the so-called International style.