March 1, 2006

Arch Ideas

MODERNITY AND MONUMENTS
Eero Saarinen's Gateway Arch Turns 40

The history of Eero Saarinen's renowned Gateway Arch is actually far older than the current celebrations for its 40th birthday would indicate. The site for this parabolic structure along the St. Louis riverfront was first earmarked as the spot for a commemoration of 19th-century westward American expansion all the way back in 1935. It was in 1947 that Saarinen entered the competition for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial -- a move that allowed the young architect (then in his 30s) to distinguish himself from his well-known father, Finnish-born architect, Eliel Saarinen. Eighteen years later the soaring 630 foot symbol of St. Louis would become a reality in 1965.