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Eliel Saarinen 1873–1950

Originally Saarinen planned to become an artist, but in the end chose studies in architecture at the Polytechnical Institute in 1893. At the same time he also studied at the Department of Drawing in the Imperial Alexander University in Helsinki.

Saarinen’s career in Finland was divided in a ca. ten-year period of co-operation with Gesellius and Lindgren (1896 – 1905), and a longer period, during which he worked with Gesellius (1905 – 07) and alone until 1923. Saarinen’s largest works were produced in the later period: the railway stations of Helsinki and Vyborg, the city halls of Lahti and Joensuu, and the proposal for the Finnish Parliament building. This period is however mostly characterised by Saarinen’s interest in town planning. In 1923 Saarinen moved to the United States with his family. After the move Hvitträsk remained the family’s summer residence until 1949.

Eliel SaarinenPhoto: National Board of Antiquities.