Reimagined TWA Flight Center readies for May take-off

by Andrew Manns | 19 Feb 2019

The Eero Saarinen-designed Trans World Airlines (TWA) Flight Center – arguably the most iconic example of Space Age neo-futuristic architecture – is set to reopen its doors at JFK Airport on 15 May.

The air terminal, which – according to Saarinen – was designed to express "man's desire to conquer gravity" as well as the "drama and excitement of travel", will now be a leisure epicentre, featuring eight bars, six restaurants, retail shops, a 10,000 sq ft (929 sq m) fitness area, a museum with retro flight attendant uniforms on display, and a rooftop pool.

A cocktail lounge – built inside a vintage 1958 Lockheed Constellation airplane – will also be located on the hotel's premises.

Additionally, the TWA Center will boast an audience hall outfitted by INC Architecture & Design and two new wings created by Beyer Blinder Belle and Lubrano Ciavarra, which will house 512 rooms designed by Stonehill Taylor, who took inspiration from the year 1962.

"At this time," the interior designers said in a statement, "aviation was the promise of the future, and so in many ways, this year signifies the beginning of an era of American strength, optimism, and innovation.

"By offering a modern refuge with a thoughtful, strong sense of design and space, the rooms are meant to make guests feel the same appreciation and excitement for aviation that travellers once felt during the rise of the industry."

The long-gestating plan to revamp Saarinen's masterpiece received a significant boost last year when M&T Bank agreed to provide MCR and MORSE Development – the project's developer – with a US$230m (€203m, £176.5m) construction loan.

M&T Bank Long Island market president Jason Lipiec commented: "The reimagining of the TWA Flight Center, which was one of New York City's most prestigious transit icons when it opened in the early 1960s, will have a significant impact on JFK as the hotel will benefit both business and leisure travellers from across the globe."

Designated a New York City landmark in 1994, the terminal closed down in 2001. In 2005, it was added to the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places.

TWA Hotel  JFK  New York  Eero Saarinen 
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Eero Saarinen's iconic TWA Flight Center to be converted into luxury New York hotel

The Eero Saarinen-designed Trans World Airlines (TWA) Flight Center – arguably the most iconic example of Space Age neo-futuristic architecture – is set to reopen its doors at JFK Airport on 15 May. The air terminal, which – according to Saarinen – was designed to express "man's desire to conquer gravity" as well as the "drama and excitement of travel", will now be a leisure epicentre, featuring eight bars, six
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The original air terminal was conceived by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen and opened in 1962. / Courtesy of MCR
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