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Eero Saarinen Paperback – 24 Mar 2014

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'Merkel’s handsome volume presents the first truly comprehensive survey, and seeks to demonstrate how Saarinen could be ‘mainstream and avante-garde at the same time.' (New Yorker)

About the Author

Jayne Merkel is an architectural historian and critic and serves on the editorial board of Architectural Design in London. She was the editor of Oculus, the journal of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects, from 1995 to 2002. A prolific writer, she is the author of five books, and over the past 25 years has written for Art in America, Progressive Architecture, and Harvard Design Magazine, amongst many other publications. She was Architecture Critic for The Cincinnati Enquirer from 1977 to 1988, and is a former Director of the Graduate Program in Criticism at the Parsons School of Design in New York.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8cf1e528) out of 5 stars 11 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8cf2b21c) out of 5 stars Saarinen Rediscovered 26 Aug. 2005
By Sara Caples - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Disclosure: I'm an architect who began the journey towards the profession by writing an undergraduate thesis on Saarinen in the late 1960s.

Many of the things that were intriguing about his work then-the curious combination of 50s zen emptiness with passages of delicate, almost decorative, details-and the search for form which veers from neo-Miesian boxes to the curves and cylinders of MIT to the neo-vernacular stone of the Yale Colleges to the sinuous curves of the TWA and Dulles terminals-these explorations fascinate still and have much to teach us.

Merkel's book takes all these strains, examines their roots and development in a clear and comprehensive way.

Merkel has made a wonderful book, one that brings Saarinen's work back to life.

The images are stunning and so full of information, a nice balance of design process and completed buildings.

The text is full of fascinating information, much of it freshly researched-a compelling read.

The book design is gorgeous, and I don't just mean the stunning visual design.

Merkel has focused on design explorations and the strong built work of Saarinen without stalling us unduly in the less successful work.

If you're interested in Saarinen's work, get this book!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8cf2b468) out of 5 stars Insights into Saarinen 23 Sept. 2005
By Martha Dunkelman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Merkel's book is one of those monographs that open so many doors onto the work of an artist or architect that you never view it in quite the same way again. Saarinen's buildings are analyzed in all their surprising variety, with an open acknowledgment of their differences, rather than an insistence on an individual style. The special emphasis placed on the critical responses to the projects when they were built is particularly enlightening and should serve as a model for the study of modern architectural history. The author, with a refreshing willingness to deal with negative material as well as positive, asks and answers the very interesting question of the reasons for the decline in Saarinen's reputation after his untimely death. This book is very valuable as a study of Saarinen and also for its insights into the development and fluctuations of movements in modern architecture.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8cf2b6a8) out of 5 stars Insightful, Superbly Researched and Written 1 Oct. 2005
By Susana Torre - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Merkel's handsome volume is a pleasure to read and to view, as it contains great vintage photographs of Eero Sarinen's projects. The author's special contribution is her insightful contextualization of Saarinen's original and eclectic output through discussions of his background, working methodology, and the critical reactions his buildings elicited.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8cf2ba08) out of 5 stars Fantastic book 15 Aug. 2005
By Jonathan Grauer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is an articulate and well researched review of an icon in architectural history. Merkel weaves his professional and personal journey in a manner which is pleasure to read.
HASH(0x8cf2bc24) out of 5 stars Authoritative, entertaining and important work 5 Jan. 2008
By J. P. Farrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Merkel's study of Eero Saarinen is authoritative while making some important normative points about the obligation of architects to honor their clients' objectives.

She describes his studio's method:

1. Definition of the "functional program" with considerable research
2. "Expression of the program" in the concept
3. Selection of appropriate "structure"
4. "Design"

The client was involved in each phase, participating in the research to define and prioritize requirements, reviewing architectural concepts for resolving their specific conflicts and approving structural approaches, materials and budgets prior to beginning detailed design.

"His were unusual, ambitious, challenging buildings. The variety in the work, the "style for the job" philosophy, as it was called, was really the result of the way he worked and the fact he believed architectural form should derive from function in the broadest possible sense."

He was singularly collaborative in his approach, using the resources of his clients, among them "the technical innovators of his period (General Motors, MIT, IBM, Bell Labs)" to automate design, adapt new materials, and refine his craft.

"Eero could meet each client on his own terms. He respected his clients and what they wanted to do (something that many architects with their own objectives fail to do) because, though he believed architecture should aspire to be art, he saw it as one grounded in use."

For more on the fundamental difference of his approach from that of such stylists as Frank Lloyd Wright.
A Management Consultant @ Large: Best Practices in Architecture
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