John Deere World Headquarters- Saarinen


John Deere World Headquarters resides in Moline, Illinois. In an area with little attractions, the company president at the time wanted to construct a building that was distinctive in all aspects- and that is exactly what he got.

“Hewitt emphasized that, while he wanted a headquarters that was unique, it must reflect the character of the company and its employees.”

As stated on the John Deere website, the building has won various architectural awards including the following:

  • Twenty-Five Year Award, 1993 – American Institute of Architects
  • First Honor Award, 1965 – American Institute of Architects
  • Architectural Award of Excellence, 1965 – American Institute of Steel Construction
  • Silver Medal of Honor, 1965 – The Architectural League of New York
  • Collaborative Medal of Honor, 1965 – The Architectural League of New York
  • “Office of the Year,” 1964 – Silver Plaque Award Administrative Management Magazine
  • National “Plant America” Award, 1964 – American Association of Nurseryman

The design is intended to be elaborate but also down to earth and rugged, to reflect the type of business carried out. ¬†The following quote describes Hewitt’s vision,

“The several buildings should be thoroughly modern in concept but should not give the effect of being especially sophisticated or glossy. Instead, they should be more ‘down-to-earth’ and rugged …”

john deere exterior label

The repetitive horizontal lines that cover the exterior of the building are seemingly simplistic, yet they manage to give the building the elegance it needs while remaining a natural landscape. Another way Saarinen accomplished the rugged look was through the use of Cor-ten steel, which is steel coated with iron oxide. The strategic use of this particular material was intended to give the building a more rustic look to reflect the outdoor ideology of the company.

Considering this is a workplace, it sure is a beautiful piece of art. Unfortunately, Saarinen died four days after submitting the design contract and was unable to see the finished product.

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