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 thanks to a $350,000 matching grant from Michigan entrepreneur A. Alfred Taubman. The hour-long film, "An Architect's Memoir: Eero Saarinen", produced and directed by Emmy award winning Peter Rosen, will be presented by Detroit Public Television on PBS in 2014.
Director Peter Rosen
Eero Saarinen was one of the most prolific, unorthodox, and controversial masters of 20th Century architecture and design. He was born in Finland and at the age of 13 emigrated to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where he attended Cranbrook School, whose campus was designed by his father, legendary architect Eliel Saarinen. Although his career was tragically cut short by his death at age 51 in 1961, Eero was one of the most celebrated architects of his time.
In the post-war decades called “The American Century” he helped create the image of America seen here and abroad as a symbol of America’s optimism, influence, and potent symbolic identity. His iconic projects included 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. There 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,” said director-producer Peter Rosen. “It’s exciting to be making this film now on a wave of interest in what our country was like in the innocent 1950s. This will be the backdrop for our story.”
“As a life-long Michigan resident, I’m particularly pleased to provide support for this important project,” said A. Alfred Taubman. “Eero and his father, both with roots in the Detroit area, transformed our built environment here in the U.S and abroad. And I’m delighted that Detroit Public Television is playing a central role in the production.”
In 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 executive producers of “An Architect’s Memoir: Eero Saarinen” are Jeff Forster of WTVS and Ferne Margulies of Stan Margulies Company. Consultants and advisors include Robert L. Ziegelman, FAIA; Ilkka Kalliomaa; Aarno Kronvall; and Robert A. M. Stern, Dean of the Yale School of Architecture. 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.
Peter Rosen has produced and directed over 100 full-length films and television programs which have been distributed world-wide and have won awards at the major international film festivals. He has worked directly with some of the most important figures in the arts such as Leonard Bernstein, Yo-Yo Ma, Beverly Sills, Sherrill Milnes, Stephen Sondheim, Alexander Godunov, Midori, Martha Graham, Placido Domingo, Van Cliburn, Claudio Arrau, Byron Janis, Garrison Keillor, and I. M. Pei.