The excitement was palpable yesterday evening as New Yorkers packed into the SVA Theatre for a special presentation on one of the city’s most important rehabilitation projects: the redevelopment of Eero Saarinen’s iconic TWA flight center into a hotel. Taking the stage were the development and architecture teams who divulged a slew of new details regarding the design, the hotel’s offer, and even the pricing of the rooms.
The shovels were out at JFK’s TWA Flight Terminal yesterday, as MCR Development and JetBlue broke ground on their project to turn Eero Saarinen‘s mid-century modern masterpiece into the high-end, 505-room TWA Hotel. According to a press release, Governor Cuomo attended the festivities, noting that the conversion “will preserve this iconic landmark while cementing JFK’s status as a crown jewel of aviation.” The news also came with two renderings that show the two, six-story, crescent shaped hotel buildings that will rise on either side of the existing structure.
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.
Image courtesy of SOM by James Ewing
Historically, college dorms have been characterized by anything but great architecture. While many older institutions rent out rooms (“cells” may be a more apt description) in neo-gothic structures, newer institutions tend to house students in some of the world’s least inspiring modernist buildings (for an example, head over to the I.M. Pei towers that dominate NYU’s University Village). More recently, however, at least some colleges and universities have begun to acknowledge that where students live may have an impact on their performance. Financially savvy institutions have also started to link student housing options to student retention rates.
As a result, on many campuses, drab gray concrete structures with prison-size windows are finally giving way to light, glass and wood and to an entirely new range of built-in amenities. This means that whether or not all students know it, a growing number of them are now living in buildings on the cutting edge of contemporary design.
The Wright auction house is gearing up for the July 26 auction of kitchen and dining room items from the iconic Four Seasons restaurant. As 6sqft previously reported, news that the restaurant would decamp from the building surfaced last summer, when Seagram Building owner Aby Rosen did not renew the lease for what has been seen as the quintessential Midtown “power lunch” spot for the last decades of the 20th century since it opened in 1959. The restaurant’s interiors feature custom designs by Pritzker Prize-winner Philip Johnson and furniture, tableware and other modernist treasures by the likes of by Seagram Building designer Mies Van der Rohe, Hans J. Wegner and others and custom-made Knoll furniture.
With an emotional forward by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, the auction catalog offers a preview of items up for auction with estimates. Included will be banquettes designed for the space by Philip Johnson Associates, Eero Saarinen Tulip stools, chairs and tables from the bar of the Grill Room, pans, flatware and dishes created for the restaurant by Ada Louise and L. Garth Huxtable and more.
If you’re an architectural purist who’s somehow managed to miss exploring Eero Saarinen’s masterpiece at JFK in person all these year, you won’t want to miss out on what will foreseeably be your last chance to experience the structure as it was meant to be. For one day only, the iconic building will open to the public for FREE for just four hours as part of the annual Open House New York Weekend festival.
As written in an OHNY Weekend press release, Sunday, October 18th, “is likely to be the last time the TWA Flight Center will be open to the public in its current form.” As 6sqft previously reported, the terminal will soon be redeveloped into a 505-room hotel by MCR Development and JetBlue.
Image courtesy of Beyer Blinder Belle
No longer will the fate of Eero Saarinen’s architectural masterpiece sit in limbo, Crain’s reports that the iconic structure will indeed be made into a hotel, developed through a partnership between MCR Development and JetBlue. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey chose the pair amongst a “field of several competitors” bidding for the job, and the decision will be formally announced at the agency’s board meeting next week. As we previously reported, the new destination will be known as the TWA Flight Center Hotel.
For the last 14 years, JFK’s most beloved structure has mostly languished vacant, reopened intermittently for public tours or to serve as the backdrop of some Jet Age fashion shoot. While there has been plenty of talk surrounding the TWA Flight Center’s transformation into a hotel, details have remained sparse until now. As Curbed has it, the city has finally revealed that MCR Development will be taking the reigns alongside JetBlue and the NYNJ Port Authority, bringing the iconic terminal back to life as a 505-room LEED-certified hotel with restaurants, 40,000 square feet of meeting space and a 10,000-square-foot observation deck. The project will aptly be called “The TWA Flight Center Hotel.”
Yesterday we rounded up some of the most heinous crimes committed against architecture in New York City, but today we’re taking a look at the sunnier side of things. Our list of architectural saviors includes sites saved from the wrecking ball, as well as those that have remained intact and been adaptively reused. And with city-wide preservationists celebrating this year’s 50th anniversary of the landmarks law, what better time to take a look back?
Photo courtesy of Beyer Blinder Belle
The TWA Flight Center at what is today John F. Kennedy International airport represents both the ephemeral and the ageless; our vulnerability at the end of the “American century” and the enduring beauty of inspired modern design.
The work of mid-20th century Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, the historic terminal is among the city’s most beloved architectural treasures. It first opened in 1962, a year after the architect’s death, and Saarinen posthumously received the AIA Gold Medal award for the design in 1962.
Despite its storied past and widespread reverence, since the demise of TWA and its subsequent purchase by American Airlines in 2001, the terminal’s iconic “head house” has remained eerily vacant, and its future continues to be a point of contention.