Mark Coir and Susan Saarinen

”The Saarinen Architectural Legacy”

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Lecturers of the Year 2007-08 

The theme for the second LOY was the artistry of the Saarinen family: architects Eliel and son Eero, designers Loja and Pipsan, the family homes at Hvittrask and Cranbrook, the settings of mid-20th century Finland and America. Sharing the LOY title were Susan Saarinen, the granddaughter of Eliel and Loja, and the daughter of Eero and Lily and Mark Coir, Director of Archives at the Cranbrook Educational Community in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
The two experts agreed to present this story together, with two podiums and a slide screen between them. For Susan Saarinen, the essence of Finnish culture is the crossroads of design and art, and she was delighted to collaborate with Mark Coir in telling this rich Finnish-American family story. Their presentation helped prepare audiences for the international exhibit on Eero Saarinen’s life and work, entitled “Shaping the Future,” which toured the United States (Cranbrook, Washington D.C., Minneapolis, New York City, and Yale University) in 2008-10.Susan Saarinen, the insider, grew up in the artistic world created by her parents and grandparents, and as an adult found her own artistic niche as a landscape architect in Colorado and abroad.
Mark Coir, the scholar, for over 20 years has been the keeper of the artifacts and document collections at Cranbrook, the place that was the home and focus of the Saarinen family’s early architectural and artistic creativity in America.

Jon L. Saari, LOY Coordinator