Eero Saarinen and CTSFW

One of the highlights of our campus (which you may have recently seen in a Facebook live tour led by Director of Admission Rev. Matt Wietfeldt) is the architecture, designed by Eero Saarinen, who is famous for the St. Louis arch. We had a follow-up question from one of our viewers, asking with Saarinen was a Christian. Our resident Saarinen expert, Prof. Robert Roethemeyer, Director of our Library, had this to say:

Yes, the evidence suggests that he was a Christian, even a Lutheran in confession. His father’s father was a Lutheran pastor in Finland. His father was a Finnish-American architect whose last project was First Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.

Our chapel is one of five Saarinen-designed sacred buildings.

Eliel Saarinen (Eero’s father) designed two churches:
First Christian Church in Columbus, Indiana (1942)
Christ Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota (1949)

Eero Saarinen designed two chapels and one church:
Chapel at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1955)
Chapel at Concordia Senior College, now CTSFW (1958)
North Christian Church in Columbus, Indiana (1964)

The two chapels are notable for their simplicity of design. The chapel at MIT is in the shape of a cylinder, giving us architecturally the circle and theologically eternity. The chapel at CTSFW is architecturally a triangle and theologically symbolizes the Trinity.

Another architectural piece to note on campus are the bricks all throughout the buildings. The lay horizontal through most of the campus, symbolizing our connection with one another in community. In the chapel, they lay vertically, emphasizing God coming to us.

Eero Saarinen (left) and Kevin Roche (right), Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; between 1953 and 1961. Photo from the Korab Collection at the Library of Congress.