“Our buildings should be seen, because they are monuments of our time.”

Eero Saarinen

51W52 Hero

Eero Saarinen

Saarinen’s works are widely regarded as architectural treasures, and 51W52, or Black Rock as it is also known, is the only skyscraper he designed. As such, it is a first, an only, and a true icon.

He was a Finnish-born American architect who became one of the most important designers of the 20th century.

Eero Saarinen

01/ Eero Saarinen

TWA Terminal

02/ TWA Terminal at JFK airport in New York City (1962)

“Buildings should have guts and direction and make statements. Neutral buildings do not stimulate man’s imagination or give man confidence or make him feel proud and I believe architecture should do these things.”

Eero Saarinen

03/ St. Louis Gateway Arch (designed in 1947)

Tulip Chair

04/ Tulip Chair (1955)

Vivian Beaumont Theatre, New York

05/ Vivian Beaumont Theatre (1965)

01/ Saarinen’s only skyscraper

51W52, originally known as the CBS Building, was completed in 1965 and is Eero Saarinen’s only skyscraper. It epitomized his style and goal to build ‘the simplest skyscraper in New York City’. Saarinen strove to create architectural forms that were rich in drama and character.

02/ Black Rock

Saarinen initiated a trend toward design exploration and experimentation, wanting the focus of 51W52 to be the verticality of the building and for the viewer’s eyes to be led upward so the building appeared to be a strong, solid mass on the skyline. The building earned its name – ‘Black Rock” after the sable color of the facade. It stood apart from its neighbors in Manhattan because it broke away from the existing architectural systems, aesthetics, and design elements.

03/ 51W52 Interiors

The interiors of 51W52 featured open-plan offices and executive offices designed in conjunction with renowned furniture designer Florence Knoll, that focused on clean lines and clear geometries. Saarinen’s design philosophy reflects his thought process that architecture should be expressive and each building should be distinctive.

04/ 51W52 Today

Saarinen’s legacy remains in 51W52 today, in 51W52’s elements, systems, and the innovative thought process that went into Saarinen’s need to bring a significant and identifying character to public buildings.

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