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Research

An international consortium of Finnish and American scholars and curators was assembled to bring different perspectives to Saarinen's work and to identify resonances between mid-century culture and that of today. The emphasis has been the global relevance of Saarinen's work.

Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future project was launched in 2002 after the announcement that Saarinen's former collaborator, Kevin Roche, had donated to Yale Manuscripts and Archives the architect's complete archives. The Project is the first public unveiling of these archives, the largest repository of Saarinen-related material in the world. In addition to featuring Yale's Saarinen Archive, the exhibition and catalog draw also upon other rich collections at such institutions as the Cranbrook Archives in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; The Canadian Center for Architecture in Montréal, Québec; the Museum of Finnish Architecture; Museum of Modern Art; the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.; and the corporate archives of Saarinen's clients.

During the research period, the team convened four times: twice at Yale, and respectively once at Cranbrook and in Helsinki, Finland. In addition to these collective research meetings, individual team members made independent trips to research the various archival sources with relevant Saarinen material. The work of the research team was further supported by the oral history interviews of Saarinen's colleagues, clients and family conducted by the KDN Films.

The researchers have worked in close collaboration with the Yale University Manuscripts and Archives. The researchers and the project team have also made use of the remarkable Saarinen collection in the Cranbrook Arcives. The Archives at Yale have contributed to the project by giving the research team access to the Eero Saarinen material that is currently being processed and catalogued and by helping to scan and photograph the research material. The Yale University Manuscripts and Archives has received a special grant from the Getty Foundation for processing the materials. Cranbrook Archives contributed significantly to the research on Eero Saarinen's early work. Both Yale and Cranbrook Archives have generously lent original material to the exhibition.


Research Team

Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Director of Research Team, Assistant Professor, Yale School of Architecture
Sandy Isenstadt, Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at Yale University
Pekka Korvenmaa, Professor of Design and Culture, University of Art and Design, Helsinki
Reinhold Martin, Assistant Professor at Columbia School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Christopher Monkhouse, Chief Curator, Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Jennifer Komar Olivarez, Assistant Curator, Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Susanna Santala, Doctoral candidate, curator Kunsthalle Helsinki
Timo Tuomi, Director of the Research Department, Museum of Finnish Architecture


Research Assistants

Mira Burack
Christina D’Auria
Nathan Elchert
Rosamond Fletcher
Marc Guberman
Magdalena Herrgård
Susan Gail Johnson
Sean Khorsandi
Justina Michaels
Nathan Elchert
Frida Rosenberg


Archivists

Leslie S. Edwards, Archivist, Cranbrook Archives Laura Tatum, Archivist of the Eero Saarinen Collection Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library Yale University