Finnish Cultural Institute in New York
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New York, NY 10003
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info[at]eerosaarinen.net

SHAPING AN AMERICAN IDENTITY

With his designs for airport terminals, embassies, and national memorials, Eero Saarinen helped create potent expressions of American identity. His designs for the American chancelleries in London and Oslo sought to portray the United States as both powerful and a good neighbor by showcasing modern technologies while adapting to local conditions in siting and materials. In America Saarinen’s United States Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, better known as the Gateway Arch, celebrated the country’s westward expansion, his memorial in Milwaukee honored the city’s war dead, and his airports in New York and Washington, D.C., thrilled people to the glamour of international travel, serving as gateways to the country’s business and political capitals. These buildings used dynamic forms and structural innovations to capture the optimism of mid-20th-century America, while their variety came to represent a national ideal of unbounded choice.