tDETROIT – A documentary on the life and work of Eero Saarinen, considered one of the masters of American 20th Century architecture, will be produced for PBS and international distribution. Although his career was tragically cut short by his death at age 51 in 1961, Saarinen was one of the most celebrated architects of his time. The hour-long film, produced and directed by Emmy award-winning Peter Rosen, will be presented by Detroit Public Television on PBS in 2014.
tThis is thanks to a $350,000 matching grant from Michigan entrepreneur A. Alfred Taubman, now 88, one of America's most successful entrepreneurs and for whom the University of Michigan's College of Architecture and Urban Planning is named.
t"As a life-long Michigan resident, I'm particularly pleased to provide support for this important project," Taubman said. "Eero and his father, both with roots in the Detroit area, transformed our built environment here in the U.S and abroad.” Taubman is delighted that Detroit Public Television is playing a central role in the production.
tEero Saarinen was one of the most prolific and unorthodox masters of 20th Century architecture and design. He was born in Finland and at age 13 emigrated to Bloomfield Hills, where he attended Cranbrook School. His father, legendary architect Eliel Saarinen, designed the campus.
tIn the post-war decades he helped create the image of America as a symbol of optimism, influence, and potent symbolic identity. His iconic projects include the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, TWA Terminal at New York's JFK International Airport, the CBS Building (Black Rock) in Manhattan, and the Washington Dulles International Airport.
tThere has been a veritable surge of interest in Saarinen's work in recent years, including a major exhibition and several books. "The 'Mad Men' style and feel of the '50s was Saarinen's expression of a uniquely American ideal of the new and brash, a country about to dominate the global culture," director-producer Peter Rosen said. “This will be the backdrop for our story."
tIn addition to Mr. Rosen, the production team includes a number of internationally recognized architecture and film professionals, including cinematographer Eric Saarinen, Eero's son. The documentary is being produced with the Cooperation of the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, Consulate General of Finland in New York, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, and the Museum of Finnish Architecture.