Saarinen began his studies at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, under the tutelage of his father. Joining him were fellow students Charles and Ray Eames, with whom he would go on to collaborate on furniture designs. His and Charles’ “Tulip Chair” became the basis of the seating used on the original Star Trek television series. He graduated from the Yale School of Architecture in 1934.
Saarinen became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1940 and joined the military Office of Strategic Services (OSS). He was assigned to draw illustrations for bomb-disassembly manuals and to provide designs for the Situation Room in the White House. After his father's death in 1950, Saarinen founded his own architecture firm, “Eero Saarinen and Associates.”
When photographer Balthazar Korab arrived in the U.S. in 1955, Saarinen employed him to photograph the architectural process. In 2007, Korab donated some 800 images to the Library that document 19 of Saarinen’s design projects. Included in the collection are corporate headquarters, airports, university facilities, embassies, private residences, churches, a museum and the monumental arch.
In 1988, Ray Eames donated a collection of more than one million items of the work she and her husband Charles had done, including biographical material, correspondence, research files, scripts, catalogs, financial records, architectural and furniture designs, posters and films for corporate and government bodies. "The Work of Charles and Ray Eames: A Legacy of Invention" is an online exhibition based on the collection, with additional items featured from the collections of the Vitra Design Museum and from Lucia Eames, daughter of Charles Eames.