Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal
All photos: Brian Kelly for Phaidon
Eero Saarinen’s illustrious 1962 TWA terminal at JFK was opened for a few hours a couple weeks back for the first time since it was shuttered in 2001. Phaidon photographer Brian Kelly was there, along with the rest of the New York architectural scene, and captured the newly renovated space in all its Jet Age glory.More images after the jump!
With the TWA terminal, Saarinen combined the seductive curves of biomorphic shapes with incredible feats of engineering to create a “building in which the architecture itself would express the drama and specialness and excitement of travel.” The form was a continuation of Saarinen’s formal explorations at the Kresge Auditorium (1953-55) and the Ingalls Rink (1953-58) and significantly influenced by Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House project, with which Saarinen was familiar, having served on the jury for the opera house competition n 1957. Kevin Roche, Saarinen’s chief associate architect, claimed that the four-vaulted concrete shell was derived from the rind of a grapefruit Saarinen had eaten for breakfast: “He pushed down the centre to mimic the depression that he desired, and the grapefruit bulged. This was the seed for the bulges in the shell.”
The terminal was closed in 2001, after TWA collapsed in the wake of the airline industry’s decline following the 9/11 attacks. After a JetBlue terminal was erected adjacent to the structure in 2005–partially encircling it–the building was fully renovated this past year. Its future remains uncertain. The Port Authority is currently entertaining several options, including converting the facilities for use as boutique hotel and using the interiors as the backdrop for an elaborately-themed restaurant.