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Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future

American Masters — Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future explores the life and visionary work of Finnish-American modernist architectural giant Eero Saarinen (1910-1961). Best known for designing National Historic Landmarks such as St. Louis’ iconic Gateway Arch and the General Motors Technical Center (Warren, Mich.), Saarinen also designed New York’s TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Yale University’s Ingalls Rink and Morse and Ezra Stiles Colleges, Virginia’s Dulles Airport, and modernist pedestal furniture like the Tulip chair. His sudden death at age 51 cut short one of the most influential careers in American architecture.


Major funding for American Masters — Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future is provided by the A. Alfred Taubman Foundation. Additional funding is provided in part by American Institute of Architects, National Endowment for the Arts, The Durst Family, Vital Projects Fund, Eric and Katherine Larson Family Fund, MCR Development LLC, Gerald D. Hines, Elise Jaffe + Jeffrey Brown, KieranTimberlake, KPF Foundation, and Daryl and Steven Roth Foundation.

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Major support for American Masters is provided by AARP. Additional funding is provided by Rosalind P. Walter, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Judith and Burton Resnick, Ellen and James S. Marcus, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Vital Projects Fund, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Lenore Hecht Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, and public television viewers.

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-Major support for this program provided by... -Major support for this program provided by... -Major support for this program provided by... -Major support for this program provided by... -Major support for this program provided by... ♪♪ ♪♪ -Our architecture is too humble.

It should be prouder, more aggressive, much richer, and larger than we see today.

I would like to do my part in expanding that richness.

♪♪ One finds that many different shapes are equally logical.

Some exciting, some earthbound, some soaring.

The choices really become a sculptor's choices.

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -My grandfather was Eliel Saarinen.

My father was Eero Saarinen and my name's Eric Saarinen.

And they were architects.

They were both world-famous architects.

♪♪ When he was starting out, my father worked under his father.

He worked within the structure of his father's work.

He would do what he was asked to do, and he would be assigned to do details and he did them well, but he was always working within the confines of the box.

The first chance he had to make an impact with a design of his own and show that he was going to be more than just the son of a famous architect was the design competition for the St. Louis Jefferson Memorial in 1948.

-There were quite a few competitions in those days, many more than there are today, but this is the one that everybody wanted to win.

Eliel's whole career had been launched with competitions and he had brought Eero up to enter competitions.

And, of course, Eliel also entered.

Both teams were in the same building, on other sides of a wall, working on this competition.

And, after the first stage, they sent a telegram to Mr. E. Saarinen.

-I had heard the story many times.

A telegram came to the door, said Saarinen wo So they rejoiced for three days that Eliel had won.

But it was Eero Saarinen who won the competition, not Eliel Saarinen.

So they celebrated again, but, in actual fact, I think it was a big blow to Eliel.

He had to admit that his son had beaten him, beaten him badly, by a better design.

♪♪ -The major concern here was to create a monument which would have lasting significance, a landmark of our time.

An absolutely simple shape, such as the Egyptian pyramids seemed to be the basis of the great memorials.

The St. Louis Arch could be a triumphal arch for our ages, as the triumphal arches of classical antiquity were for theirs.

-The St. Louis Arch is one of those rare moments where an architectural competition yielded something truly daring and bold and important.

Saarinen's work seemed very refreshing to a lot of people.

[ Band plays '1812 Overture' ] Very exciting, very engaging, at a time when modern architecture was a pretty rigid thing.

I think Saarinen's Arch expresses American optimism and American openness.

To me, it says, you know, here's an architect who sees this country as the symbol of all that's new, of every opportunity, of everything the 20th century hopes to represent and accomplish, and he sums it up in this breathtakingly beautiful leap into the sky.

[ Rotors whir ] -I was only 19 when my father died.

I never really came to terms with who he was, what his work meant.

Now, it's a great joy to come back and understand what he did and how he did it.

It's kind of a magical mystery tour for me.

[ Camera shutter clicks ] -I think the best is you can see the reflections.

-Coming out of school, I stumbled across filmmaking and started doing documentaries and that led to features.

Yeah, there you go.

Drop, drop, drop, drop.

-Okay.

-While I've had a long career and been around the world many times, this is probably the most important thing I've ever done because I never had closure with my father and it's a very cathartic procedure to go back and film my father's work and being able to communicate his work to other people.

-Your right wheel's locked up.

[ Camera shutter clicks ] -Welcome to the top.

♪♪ -The Arch was a culmination of a lot of work my father did with his father, but it was also the beginning of his own work.

It gave him strength to follow his own convictions.

He made it to last for a thousand years, and I hope it does.

I do hope it does.

My grandfather Eliel designed and built this house in the middle of the forest, in the middle of nowhere.

We're surrounded by woods, surrounded by nature all the way around.

My father was born here and raised here.

Eero was brought up in this environment of artists and musicians and creative people.

Other artists would come along, including people like Maxim Gorky and then Gustav Mahler, the great musician, and Sibelius would play the piano.

They were all friends of Eliel's and they all had tremendous influence on Eero.

-As a child, I would always draw and happened to be good at it.

My father had his architectural studio right in the house.

I practically grew up under his drafting table.

-He'd be on the floor, drawing, and Eliel would be at the table, drawing.

And Eliel would look down, once in a while, and I'm sure Eero came up on his lap and watched him draw for a while, and all that.

-Except for a rather brief excursion into sculpture, it never occurred to me to do anything but follow in my father's footsteps and become an architect.

-Eliel's attitude on work rubbed off on Eero.

Work was everything.

Work was the most important thing.

When Eero was on the boat going to the U.S., he was not just a child.

He had a tremendous intellectual background, but also, he had that great training.

♪♪ This 300-acre campus was designed primarily by my grandfather Eliel.

He brought his family to America in 1922.

My father was 13.

In Cranbrook, he started out designing details when he was a kid: little, Finnish gargoyles.

They're playful and comic.

Kingswood was one of the last things that was designed in Cranbrook.

Eero's assignment was to do the chairs and he designed pink chairs because it was a girls' school.

My father designed this, you know, bow and arrow that's pointing up.

It was the symbol for the students to aim high.

That's something that Eliel always talked about and, at Cranbrook, my father learned those kinds of principles.

-After Cranbrook, the first thing he did was go off to Paris to study sculpture, as his mother had when she was a young woman.

But he only stayed for a year.

Maybe he already sensed that he was gonna be an architect.

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -Cranbrook was an amazing place.

You lived there, you had a studio.

It was a 24-hour-a-day open classroom.

It really a hotbed of creativity.

Very creative people came.

-Frank Lloyd Wright came here.

He bounced me on his knee.

My mother came to study sculpture at Cranbrook, and that's where she met my father.

She had just competed on the first U.S. women's Olympic ski team, and she was a lot of fun.

They fell in love, and they were married in 1939.

They were very influenced by each other.

She was quite talented as an artist.

Her forms from nature influenced my father's work.

[ Melancholy tune plays ] -[Speaking foreign language] -Saarinen's father dies in 1950, and that's when Saarinen got to fulfill his ideas.

He was one of those people who was struggling to give new form to architecture, to break out of the Modernist box.

He did that, beginning with great corporate work like General Motors.

[ Jaunty tune plays ] -GM was a car company.

The car companies were among the most important companies in the country.

They were outside Detroit. Detroit was a booming city.

It was the fourth-biggest city in the United States.

♪♪ [ Suspenseful flourish plays ] -The parade of new cars starts across the stage among the dancing Motorettes.

-In Detroit, in 1950, it was really the center of the design world.

You were starting a car and it's more than just that the car can move; it's how do people respond to it, how does it grab your eye when it's going past.

So, every year, there was a whole brand-new set of designs out and everybody talked about them.

Now, the impact that that had on architecture was that there had to be new ideas, new expressions.

-General Motors had come to the Saarinen office because of the beauty of the Cranbrook campus.

They wanted a similar kind of campus for themselves, but a corporate campus.

The original design, under the auspices of Eliel Saarinen, is streamlined, with curving, aerodynamic shapes, almost like the wings of an airplane.

-When Eliel died, the risk was that my father was untested and really hadn't proved himself.

-Harley Earl, the head of design at General Motors, he had come from Hollywood.

He and Eero Saarinen were alike.

They were very bold.

They were stylists.

He promoted Eero Saarinen to get the job, and Eero Saarinen becomes his own architect with the GM Tech Center.

♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -We really had here an opportunity to create a total environment with all the buildings, all the landscaping.

Here was the Technical Center for a great metal- producing corporation.

Somehow, the character of that should get into the architecture.

We have to remember that architecture is not just here to give space and shelter, but architecture also has the purpose of marking and enhancing man's time on earth.

♪♪ -There was a need in him to create a campus better than Eliel would've created.

He's got the torch now.

-A friend who knew both Saarinens said, 'Eliel brought Eero up to believe one got one's rewards in maturity.'

'Eero waited a long time and just now is beginning to get his.'

-Aline Louchheim was an art critic at and she had written an article about Eliel Saarinen and she suggested to her editor that they do a story on Eero Saarinen.

She took the train to Detroit to meet and interview Eero Saarinen and, of course, it turned out to be a very significant meeting.

-I remember the first time we were alone together, then sneaking into Cranbrook and the dark room and the black coat at the threshold and making love for the first time, hurriedly, but so that we both knew this was only the first time.

Then the drive to the airport.

And I looked at you very intently and thought how much I did want to see you again.

-It is difficult for me to express how terribly pleased I am that you seem to like me more than you anticipated, because I really seem to like you.

[ Romantic tune plays ] -I know it seems astonishing that we should this quickly have reached this degree of love.

I remember how sweetly you said to me, 'It's so quick that it wouldn't make any sense to anyone else, but it makes sense to me.'

It makes sense to me, too, darling.

-First, I recognize that you're very clever, that you are perceptive, that you are generous, that you are beautiful, that you have a marvelous sense of humor.

That you have a very, very beautiful body.

That you are unbelievably generous to me.

That the more one digs the foundations the more and more one finds the solidest of granite for you and I to build a life together upon.

-She was married and, by then, divorced.

She had two teenage sons.

For whatever reason, they seemed to have a very instant chemistry.

They were also very interested in each other intellectually and Aline could discuss whatever he was working on at the office.

-This is the old Saarinen office, the birthplace of the major architecture my father did.

I remember he would turn all these problems over and over and over again and he'd try a hundred different ways of solving each problem before he arrived at a solution.

-What I love about the way Saarinen worked was he made big models, models, that he could put his head into and really look around at architectural space and surfaces.

-Eero started wanting to put the model together piece by piece, in flexible ways, so he could change shapes and detail as the model was being made.

-There was this rigorous sense of how you actually build this stuff.

-Lots of computers today and I think there's nothing [pats object] that compares to this, simply because it's the closest you have to space-making.

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -At TWA, we tried to design a building in which the architecture itself would express the drama and excitement of travel.

In a way, this is man's desire to conquer gravity.

[ Camera shutter clicks ] -Well, it's hard to take a bad picture.

I mean, everywhere I look, it's like beautiful there, beautiful there.

Everything is so organic.

In the old days, nobody was making curved, concrete buildings.

It was so sophisticated, they couldn't draw it.

They had to build the model, first, and then they had to draw what the model told them.

-TWA was a particularly long and difficult process.

I think Eero worked for about a year and we sent it to the client, who liked it and accepted it.

But Eero started having second thoughts.

Eero told the client that, although they had approved the design, that the design was not right; he had to restart and redesign it again and he needed an extra year.

-I went to the model room, and I saw the balsa-wood models on the large table and I looked at it and the shapes were very free-flowing.

I kind of looked at it and I said to myself, 'You know, if I were a veterinarian, I wouldn't know how to treat this animal, because it's not a horse and it's not a camel.

Do I treat it like a horse?

Do I treat it like a camel?'

-I would like to get philosophical about all this and relate it to love.

Architecture is great love and, as such, I propose to practice it.

-He worked all day and not all night, but, basically, he'd get up at 7:00 and then he'd be back at 2:00 in the morning.

Susie, my sister, was my Robin.

I was Batman and she was my Robin.

We were pretty much together all the time.

I had a beagle dog and the beagle's name is Suzi.

It was a little confusing, but, my father explained to somebody that it's really not that confusing because they don't look alike and also because the dog made less noise.

It was kind of melancholy.

It wasn't all sweet and sugary.

Work was the most important thing for him.

It wasn't money.

And I think, maybe, you know, there was a little part of him that wanted -- he wanted to be known in the future and to survive the time.

[ Melancholy tune plays ] I remember I was with my mother one night and she was in tears and I was in tears and we were both hugging each other.

And I said, 'Where's Daddy? Where's Daddy?'

And she finally called him and she was in tears, so he came home and consoled us for 10 minutes and then left for work again.

I always resented my father for literally abandoning my mother, my sister, and me, but I never saw it from his point of view.

My mom was depressed and she was kind of left alone because he was obsessed by his work and the marriage went south.

Meanwhile, Aline understood my father's work and embraced it.

♪♪ -If you and Lily were to separate tomorrow and, by some miracle, everything were to go smoothly, I would still not take it as an indication that you would marry me.

I'd be very seriously heartbroken.

But I don't want you to feel obligated or trapped.

-You don't realize that I'm like a turnip or a potato, one of those plants that have stored up below ground a tremendous amount of lust for a full-blooming life.

In my first marriage, all those things lay dormant, hoping that, someday, a situation would come where this, my new real life, would begin.

-Won't it be nice when all this is settled and you can get back to being an architect and to designing and I can write to you about ideas instead of legal clauses?

-Aline represented the same kind of ambition he had.

She's very much right there as his career as a solo architect takes off.

She positions him in the very first article for this whole explosion and boom in his career is going to be.

♪♪ -In the 1950s, there was a positive view of corporate America and Saarinen, I think, taps into that.

He was always trying new materials, new technologies, as a way to build up the alphabet of a richer, modern architecture.

-This is my favorite place, right here, 'cause this is where all the boy toys are.

And it's kind of neat that it's a showroom when you enter the building and you see these huge machines that are maybe taller than you are.

♪♪ -We tried to express in the architecture the special character of the Deere & Company.

We tried to get into the building the character of the Deere products.

We tried to use steel to express strength.

-Look at this. Look at that. Geez.

[ Laughs ] [ Birds chirping ] -Having selected a site because of the beauty of nature, we were especially anxious to take full advantage of views from the office.

♪♪ ♪♪ [ Romantic music swells ] -In the 1950s, there was enormous optimism.

There was a sense that anything was possible.

Particularly in this country, there was this optimism we were rich, we were leading the world, we were good at technology, and all this technology was gonna lead in wonderful directions and Eero Saarinen really captured that spirit.

He captured it in the St. Louis Arch; he captured it his furniture.

♪♪ He had a sense of the excitement of the future and the work embodies that excitement.

We thought we were going to go to Mars.

If you were gonna go to Mars, the tulip chair would be perfect.

-Most furniture designers are stylists.

They don't approach things from comfort and they don't really think about it from different-size people.

♪♪ -The furniture is the architecture in miniature.

The curvaceousness relates to the sculptural quality of the architecture that Saarinen is designing at the same time.

-It's a bad pun to say we designed chairs by the seat of our pants, but we basically did.

We would make forms and actually sit in them.

-Eero's thinking about modern design changed radically after he met Charles Eames, who studied at Cranbrook under Eliel during the late 1930s.

Their first conversation chair combined a seat, an armrest, and a backrest into one form by bending plywood in two directions.

The technology had not yet been invented to achieve this goal.

-When he first brought out the side chair, it was made of Plasticine.

I went to sit in it.

He said, 'No, you can't sit in it.

It's made of clay and it'll break and there's only one of them.'

So it was hand-sculpted, hand-done, by him, in the basement.

-And then, in 1953, Florence Knoll asked him if he would do another furniture collection, and he smiled because he's already thinking of one and it was what we now know as the Saarinen Pedestal furniture, which basically allowed a chair to have one leg.

[ Eerie tune plays ] ♪♪ ♪♪ -I think the lighting is amazing.

That there's a shaft of light, soft light, coming down, almost in the middle of the house and then the shaft of light right next to the bookcase, which, soft-toplights the books.

It's brilliant.

♪♪ -Perhaps the most important thing I learned from my father was that, in any design problem, one should seek the solution in terms of the next-largest thing: a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment.

-The Miller house is a thing unto itself because Saarinen did almost no private houses.

He was encouraged to be as free as he wanted, and, in a lot of ways, that's what makes the Miller house really unique and yet also at least as rigorous as any of his other buildings.

♪♪ -He was inspired by things that were at hand, you know.

He always had breakfast and he always had half a grapefruit, so he came up with the idea of the Kresge Auditorium from the grapefruit.

Here'd be half a grapefruit.

And then, you take the slice; that's the quarter.

And then you take a slice; that's an eighth.

♪♪ -The strongest and most economical way of covering an area with concrete is with a dome.

We made dozens of models.

One of them seemed, at first, strange: a three-pointed dome.

-And he managed to make it light, lightweight enough so that it's literally perched on these corners.

Just like the arch, or just like everything else he does, it's a magic trick.

-That was very typical of Eero, to take something which was done such and such a way, and then, you interfered with the tradition by sometimes just turning the whole thing upside down.

♪♪ -Clearly, his creative genius was his own.

But I do think Aline really helped him become better known to the American public.

She did a lot of promotion for him.

She was involved in arranging for the magazine writer to come.

And it landed Eero on the cover of magazine.

It was kind of his arrival as a cultural figure.

End of 1953, Aline and Eero were married.

And about a year or so later, they had a son, Eames, named for Eero's great friend Charles Eames.

And I think what's significant is how much a part of his office and his career she became.

They worked together.

-Aline came at the right time, but my mom came at the right time, too, for him.

My mom kind of got him out of the box, I think, originally.

She worked with form.

Form is a very big word in our family; it always was.

And she'd mold it however she wanted, and then she'd fire it and it would stay and it would last.

And my father kind of did that at a much larger scale.

♪♪ ♪♪ -I like the story of the boy on the Yale hockey team who said, when he looked up at the concrete arch, it made him feel, 'Go, go, go!'

[ Puck clacks ] I never saw this before.

-Whoo!

-Wildly organic.

[ Band plays 'The Star-Spangled Banner' ] ♪♪ [ Applause ] [ Whistling ] I've always liked hockey, but it's kind of cool that my dad designed a hockey rink.

It's also, what?

55 years old, something like that.

-No mercy!

-Doesn't look old.

-Saarinen sent people out from his office all over the country, to look and see what a great hockey rink would be like and they came back and said, 'They're all horrible!

They're all just barns with ice in the middle,' so he set out to make something that would express the excitement of the hockey game.

-We have the problem of a roof and a new way of using old materials.

We're spanning the space by one single concrete arch, then hanging cables from that arch and on that, we build the roof.

♪♪ ♪♪ -Remember, he wanted to be a sculptor, so he had that innately in him.

Where did he get the idea of extending the structure and creating the lights at the end, to make it look like a Norse ship?

I don't know.

♪♪ -Saarinen made amazing shapes.

Ingalls Rink was called, for a while, the Yale Whale, 'cause it almost looked like a huge, beached whale, this great, sculptural object.

You hadn't seen something like that before.

It was an attitude that you could almost describe as picturesque, his willingness to make architecture entertaining.

He cared about what images buildings evoked, what they felt like.

He wanted to create buildings that you would engage with emotionally and that's something very different from what was really going on with Modernism in the '50s.

♪♪ -I am very interested in campus planning.

Universities are to our time what the monasteries were to the Middle Ages.

On existing campuses, there is the challenge of building proud buildings of time that are in harmony with the existing buildings of other times.

-The Gothic- and Georgian-style colleges were built at Yale when Saarinen was a student.

He knew them intimately, and he knew what a Yale residential college needed to be: a quadrangle with varieties of rooftop and skyline silhouette elements.

Saarinen's colleges at Yale respect the Yale residential college tradition.

♪♪ ♪♪ -Of our time, but also timeless.

The architecture should show that these colleges were worlds somewhat apart, worlds with their own flavor, which emphasis on the individual and his scholarly life.

-He had to be modern and innovative.

He also had to fit in with the Gothic imagery of Yale.

[ Laughing ] It was an impossible task, really.

But he did get a lot of criticism and, of course, when you change and you do something new, people resist that.

They have a problem with that for a while.

-The critics were not very kind to Saarinen.

-He seemed, as one critic said, to be kind of an ad man who gave the client whatever they wanted and who did the style for the job.

-I guess he must've worried about critics, but he never showed it.

He kept on doing whatever he felt he had to do.

Sometimes the problem and the times are ripe for an entirely new, functional approach to a problem.

No one asked us to grapple with the problem of the jet-age terminal beyond the question of pure architecture, but I believe the architect has to assume that kind of responsibility.

-The essential element of Eero's approach to architecture was what is the problem you were trying to solve.

Now, many architects will brush that off and have a creative moment to make a scribble and say, 'Do that.'

He wasn't that way at all.

-In the case of Dulles, his first thought wasn't 'What is it gonna look like or what is it gonna be?'

His first thought was, 'How do we solve the passengers walking for miles?'

The jets are getting bigger.

Passengers are going longer and longer distances to the plane, so how do you solve that?

♪♪ -We became convinced that some new method of passenger handling had to be found.

The soundest system seemed to be one which brought the passenger to the plane, rather than the plane to the passenger.

We arrived at the concept of the mobile lounge.

♪♪ The acceptance of the mobile-lounge concept allowed us to make the terminal a single, compact building.

We started with abstract, ideal shapes.

Gradually, we arrived at the idea of a curved roof.

It occurred to us that this could be a suspended roof.

The Ingalls Rink gave us courage to go to the hanging roof here.

-When he did the Yale hockey rink, he had a spine, and then he draped the cables and put wood on top of that.

Here, he's draping cables and he's putting a concrete roof on the cables.

You know, you scratch your head a little bit.

So, it sticks with ya.

It's like 'Oh, yeah, cool idea.

But how does the roof stay up?'

♪♪ -The roof is supported by a row of columns 40 feet apart on each side of the concourse; 65 feet high on the approach side, 40 feet high on the field side.

It is like a huge hammock, suspended between concrete trees.

♪♪ -He talked about the fact that architecture was really a fight against gravity and he said that, if we don't watch out, if we don't work very hard at it, everything we do becomes too heavy and too downward-pressing.

Also, the business of soaring, to Eero, was a way, sort of, of making this idea of the dignity of man come through, of making you feel as if you wanted to take a deep breath, of standing tall, or of being a human being.

-I think Saarinen was visionary.

I mean, some of his buildings, like TWA and the hockey rink and Dulles Airport seem openly futuristic.

And he believed in experimentation.

He believed in reinventing things each time around.

[ Music climbs ] [ Bell tolls ] -Every new building or structure that I come upon is so different from the next that it's almost like it's been made by a different architect.

[ Bell tolls ] I guess that's because he was trying to get at what, really, the structure's for, and, in this case, it's religious, somehow spiritual.

[ Choir singing ] -I think architecture is much more than its utilitarian meaning: to provide shelter for man's activities on earth.

But I believe it has a much more fundamental role to play for men, almost a religious one: to fulfill his belief in the nobility of his existence.

-He said he had three commitments.

One was to his profession, to do the very best work -Mm-hmm, sure. -that he could do.

One was his own, personal integrity.

And then, he said, 'When I reach the Pearly Gates, I want to be able to tell St. Peter that some of my best work was that little church in Columbus, Indiana.'

[ Organ plays ] [ Choir sings ] -I was in Cape Cod and I got a phone call.

[ Siren wails ] And Aline just burst into tears and said, 'He's died.'

There was a 1 in 10,000 chance.

He had an operation.

They found a tumor in his head.

It was in the creative center of his brain.

He decided to go ahead and have an operation that there was a 1 in 10,000 chance that he would survive, so, and he didn't make it.

[ Melancholy tune plays ] Closure was something I didn't have with my dad.

But I forgive him for his genius [Laughs] you know.

How can you not forgive somebody for being a genius?

♪♪ -It just happened virtually overnight.

The day before, he was working away.

The next day, he died.

It was a tremendous loss.

-But he did an amazing amount of really good stuff during that one productive decade.

Architects' careers usually mature very late, have a very, very long arc, but Saarinen's career had a very short arc.

Who knows what would've happened if he had lived longer?

-Even though the tragedy was enormous, there was, without hesitation, the commitment to complete and to fulfill his legacy.

-Eero and Aline Saarinen were only married for eight years and, after Eero died in 1961, the key aspect of her contribution to Eero's legacy was her role in making sure that his unfinished projects were finished and finished the way he would've liked them.

TWA was still under construction; Dulles Airport was under construction.

The Arch in St. Louis was not completed at the time of his death.

The CBS building had not even really begun construction and that was one project where William Paley was considering going with another architect and she persuaded Paley that, in fact, Kevin Roche could complete the CBS building.

♪♪ ♪♪ -If your buildings remain alive, your memory remains alive.

-He figured out a way to be important across time, so even though he died young, he's still alive.

♪♪ ♪♪ -In the case of Dulles Airport, it's not really that he didn't get to see it, because he already saw it in the model stage when he was like a giant, looking down.

-Eero Saarinen loved air travel.

His wife often flew with him.

She also traveled with him on the road that led from an idea in a man's mind to a building of concrete and steel and stone and we're glad she's here to tell us about that.

-Eero was very anxious to create, here, something that would make you feel, when you came in, not as somebody said, that you should have the Dramamine before you got out of the cab, -[ Laughs ] -but that you would feel some of the wonder and the excitement of, really, this miraculous thing of getting from one place to another through the air.

[ Camera shutter clicks ] -When I was 14 or 15, he yanked me out of prep school and brought me to New York and he wants me to see this, for some reason.

I didn't really understand it, but I saw it bare-bones, pretty much the time when everybody had their fingers crossed that it would not fall down.

He had told the engineer that it was finally done and they were standing in the middle and he said, 'You know, if this thing falls down on my head right now, I will have lived a happy life.'

[ Singer performs ethereal tune ] -I hope that some of my buildings will have lasting truths.

I admit frankly I would like a place in architectural history.

Great architecture is both universal and individual.

The individuality comes through as a result of a special quality.

♪♪ Experimentation can present great dangers, but there would be greater danger if we didn't try to explore at all.

♪♪ -'Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future' -'Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future' -'Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future' -'Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future' -'Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future'