Eero Saarinen's TWA Terminal at JFK

Architect and industrial designer Eero Saarinen’s concrete and glass TWA terminal at JFK Airport in New York City is one of the great architectural masterpieces of the midcentury era. Design and construction of the building spanned from 1956 to 1962 (construction began in 1959 and was complete a year after Saarinen’s death). Graceful inside and out, the building’s exterior looks like a gliding bird with outstretched wings. Saarinen’s design goal was to epitomize the spirit of flight and modern-age travel. The interior’s sweeping and curved lines still looks futuristic.

Of course, TWA is no longer in business, and by 2001 the terminal was closed (After the airline’s acquisition by American Airlines) for over a decade.

The City of New York designated both the interiors and the exteriors of the Saarinen terminal a historic landmark in 1994 and in 2005 the National Park Service listed the Trans World Flight Center on the National Register of Historic Places.

While some satellite building have been demolished over time to make room for more modern and functional space (JetBlue is now housed in the terminal), the primary Saarinen terminal (or head house) was recently renovated and repoened, to keep what noted architect Robert A.M. Stern has called the "Grand Central of the jet age." 

blog comments powered by Disqus

The Featured Five