(b. 1873, Rantasalmi, d. 1950, Bloomfield Hills)

Central Railway Station: front view

Museum of Finnish Architecture, Helsinki

The concept of the total work of art founds its realization no longer in the private home but monumental buildings such as the Central Station in Helsinki. Saarinen's language of form has here crystallized and builds upon clear verticals. Nevertheless, ornament remains an inseparable part of the whole, whereby its task is to accentuate those components of the building of structural interest. A vital factor behind the design of the high vaulted roof was the introduction of concrete. Both Helsinki Central Station and Saarinen's subsequent works were built in this new material.

This sketch of the Helsinki Railway Station from 1910 uses rear lighting to emphasize the tower. The main façade is thereby put into shadow, but that only accentuates the varied forms. This sketch turned out to be an experiment, and all the final presentation drawings used more traditional lighting angles. Still, it is a daring approach for the time.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.