Iconic JFK Terminal begins its life as the ‘TWA Hotel’ with new signage

Posted On Tue, December 6, 2016 By

Posted On Tue, December 6, 2016 By In Architecture, Hotels, Queens, Transportation

After sitting vacant at JFK Airport for 14 years as a vestige of jet-age architecture, Eero Saarinen‘s iconic 1962 TWA Flight Terminal received a new life in the summer of 2015 when it was announced that the neo-futurist structure would be reborn as a high-end hotel. MCR Development teamed up with JetBlue and the Port Authority to develop a “505-room LEED-certified hotel with restaurants, 40,000 square feet of meeting space and a 10,000-square-foot observation deck,” as 6sqft previously described. Initial reports referred to the project as the “TWA Flight Center Hotel,” but the Times now confirms that it’ll simply be the “TWA Hotel.” And with construction four months in, Curbed noticed that signage for the hotel has gone up, preserving the airline’s logo and font.

December 1st marked the 15th anniversary of TWA’s last flight, and interestingly this is the date that JetBlue tweeted out a photo of the new signage.

Eero Saarinen, JFK Airport, MCR development, Mid-century Modern, Neo-Futurist, TWA Terminal

Eero Saarinen, JFK Airport, MCR development, Mid-century Modern, Neo-Futurist, TWA Terminal
Images courtesy of Beyer Blinder Belle

MCR CEO Tyler Morse has ben adamant that he’ll preserve the historic structure (it’s both an exterior and interior landmark), stating that “international visitors and New Yorkers alike will be able to experience the magic of the Jet Age in this extraordinary mid-century icon.” The project architects are Lubrano Ciavarra Architects and Beyer Blinder Belle, the latter of whom spearheaded the restoration of Grand Central Terminal. And as the Times so eloquently puts it, “As Grand Central Terminal still conjures the majesty of transcontinental train service in a commuter rail age, the Trans World Flight Center continues to evoke the romance of air travel.”

This romantic vision will cost a total of $265 million, $20 million of which will go towards the terminal restoration. The structure’s famed 310-foot-wide concrete wings will flank the hotel entrance, and inside this space will be the reception desk, eight bars, four restaurants, a food court, night club, event space, and possible aviation museum.

twa flight terminal tunnel

The two tunnels that previously led travelers to aircrafts will be used to guide guests from the flight center to the JetBlue terminal and two new, six-story hotel buildings that will rise “in the crescent-shaped area between the Saarinen landmark and JetBlue’s Terminal 5.”

The TWA Hotel, the first on-site hotel at JFK, is expected to open in late 2018; a formal announcement of the project will take place on December 15th. The City Planning Commission approved the project in March, but there are 21 other government agencies that’ll have a say.

[Via NYT]

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