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)
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!
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"
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