TWA Flight Center (1962). Nicolas Lemery Nantel | salokin.com
The line of photographers started at the parking lot, setting up tripods in the thick, green grass at the edge. More occupied the median, and still more crowded the interior, blocking the delicate, cantilevered bridge so that few could pass. And yet, it was not a disappointment. The traffic still flowed. A few cars on the underutilized roadway in front. A mass around the information desk, drawn there despite there being no need for flight information. Steady streams up the shallow steps. And then, dispersion. Up the stairs to the Lisbon Lounge and the Paris Cafe, stripped to their chrome light fixtures and glazed tiles. Down the stairs to the red ilets of seating, facing another iris of information. Behind the iris: an expanse of gray gravel, and the dull curve of the JetBlue terminal. Where once there was a view of flight, now there is just a wall, and not even one activated, as the lifted wings are here, by the movement of people. Beyond the lounge, two tubes with violent red carpet and a wash of white light. No one seemed to be able to decide on the proper pace. Kids ran. Adults strolled. More photographers blocked the opening. And again a disappointing end. An elevator. A staircase. No planes in sight.
Read the rest at Design Observer.
I just think it’s damned anyway. I don’t know if any amount of preservation lobbying would make a difference, and I don’t know what the argument would be. What are they going to do with another structure there with no assigned use? They’ve already got that with TWA.
That’s John Morris Dixon, former Progressive Architecture editor and chronicler of the best of mid-century corporate design, in the Architect’s Newspaper’s article on the many modern icons about to bite the dust at John F. Kennedy Airport. Above is Terminal 3, from 1960, and there has been previous coverage of Delta’s plan to demolish I.M. Pei’s Terminal 6. Earlier in the article DOCOMOMO’s Nina Rappaport makes the equally excellent point that the Port Authority needs to look at all of its properties, identify potential landmarks, and not let them just rot and throw up their hands.
It is outrageous, and it leads to the ongoing tragedy of Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal. It sits there, empty, next to JetBlue’s so-so Terminal 5, as an object lesson about how preservation and redevelopment have to operate in tandem. TWA is not deteriorating—at least I don’t think so—since the last year was spent in asbestos abatement, and its iconicity, famous architect and landmark status should give it security. But you never know.