Hopefully you were among the thousands who made it out to JFK Airport yesterday for a last look into the iconic TWA Flight Center before construction begins to convert it into a 500+ room hotel. Built in 1962 by the legendary Finnish architect, Eero Saarinen, the terminal is a mid-century masterpiece and a symbol of the exciting Jet Age. The dynamic exterior of the terminal suggests wings in flight while the interior boasts soaring, arched ceilings slashed with skylights. Touches of bold red, marble, and light fixtures of multiple exposed, round bulbs give the terminal a sleek, glamorous vibe. The TWA Flight Center was one of the first terminals to offer electronic schedule displays, closed circuit television, and baggage carousels. Declared a New York City Landmark in 1994, the terminal closed in 2001 when Trans World Airlines went out of business.
The forthcoming hotel will be set back from the terminal and Saarinen's structure will receive a full rehabilitation to restore it to its original splendor. A museum is also planned for the site which will showcase the history of TWA, the Jet Age, and mid-century modern design. Learn more at ohny.org, reuters.com, and wired.com. Check out pics at ny.curbed.com and see my 2010 post on the Eero Saarinen exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York here.