Gruen on Eero Saarinen

“An illustration of how this desire for publicity can influence the architect’s work can be found in comparing two air terminal buildings designed by the same architect, the late, extremely gifted Eero Saarinen. One of these buildings, the TWA terminal at Idlewild, New York (now John F. Kennedy International Airport), obviously was based on the client’s desire to outdo all its competitors’ displays of originality and glamour as they are lined up in that “World’s Fair” of air terminal buildings at the International Airport. The result is a tour de force that offers some excitement but little comfort or convenience to the air traveler. The second air terminal building designed by Eero Saarinen is at the Dulles Airport in Washington D.C., and inasmuch as it is one central structure serving all competitive airlines, the desire for advertising was not present. The result is an excellent, handsome structure offering innovations in the transport of the passengers to the plane which will probably pioneer similar arrangements all over the world and which, as far as human users are concerned, will provide quietude, convenience, comfort and “delight.” Yet I will not be surprised if that superior terminal in Washington will create less furor and excitement in our mass communications media and in the architectural press than did the first one.”

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