Though some may now know him only as the father of Eero Saarinen, Eliel Saarinen (August 20, 1873 – July 1, 1950) was an accomplished and style-defining architect in his own right. His pioneering form of stripped down, vernacular Art Nouveau coincided with stirring Finnish nationalism and a corresponding appetite for a romantic national style and consciousness; his Helsinki Central Station became part of the Finnish identity along with Finnish language theaters and literature. Later moving to America, his city planning and Art Deco designs resonated through western cities in the first half of the 20th century. Graduating from the Helsinki University of Technology at the end of the 19th century, the 1900 World's Fair provided Saarinen with his first opportunity to draw attention. His Finnish Pavilion was an extraordinary mix of the many styles of the period, combining Art Nouveau with traditional Finnish wooden architecture and the Gothic Revival which had dominated much of Northern Europe for the previous 50 years. He continued working in this style, which would help found the National Romantic movement in Scandinavia. Building on the early commercialism of Art Nouveau, he even design a line of pottery for Arabia Pottery.
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