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John Deere Headquarters

Illinois, United States of America
1 of 13

The John Deere Headquarters is one of four buildings located on John Deere complex in Illinois USA. It was designed by Eero Saarinen in the 60's, however he died before the construction was completed, so Kevin Roche took over to finalise the building.


In the mid-1950s, Deere & Company President William Hewitt was being pressured to move the company's headquarters from Moline, Illinois, to New York or San Francisco. Hewitt resisted the idea. But, he agreed that if the firm were to remain in Moline, it needed a distinctive new building for its head office.

In 1956, Hewitt visited two especially striking buildings -- the auditorium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the General Motors Technical Center near Detroit, Michigan. He decided to award the Deere & Company headquarters work to their designer, Eero Saarinen.

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


Saarinen designed a complex of three buildings. The main office building, which is seven stories high, rises from the floor of a wooded ravine and faces two ponds. A glass-enclosed bridge connects the main building to a product-display building and a 350-seat auditorium.

Saarinen satisfied Hewitt's instruction that the buildings look down-to-earth by using Cor-ten steel for the exterior structure of the building. Cor-ten, a material that resists corrosion by forming a protective coating of iron oxide, develops an earthy color as it ages, much like newly plowed soil. Developed for railroad track construction and other uses, this marked the first use of Cor-ten in an architectural application.

The new building, which initially housed about 900 employees, opened its doors for business on April 20, 1964.

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aleeshacallahan, May 7th, 2013
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