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Eero Saarinen’s Design of the CBS Building in New York City


The CBS Building in New York City, or Black Rock, is an imposing 38-story building of black marble. Leaning away from the glass and concrete construction of the time, Saarinen wanted to create something with a dense, strong feeling.

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.

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.


Building's still in use. It's their 50th anniversary.

Aline went up to Frank Stanton and - after my father died - and told him you have to build the CBS building, otherwise it wouldn't be here today.

Actually there was some resistance by Paley's wife because the granite was black, and she didn't want black granite - she wanted pink granite. But I think my dad was thinking it's kind of a manly building or maybe more of a formal structure, and wanted it black, so it stayed black, thank God. He needed to do a building that was not surrounded by buildings because you never see it. It's easy to see it in a model but he wanted it to be set back from the street. Glass and steel are kind of flash and we're in the city, and there are a lot of glass and steel buildings, you know, but he wanted something that was kind of dense and strong-looking. Obviously he wanted to make a different impression on New York.

He wanted it not to be flimsy and glass and metal and flashy - he wanted it to be permanent - to look strong.


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