The TWA Flight Center at New York’s JFK airport was once the world’s most famous airport terminal, designed by architect Eero Saarinen. It looks like a bird taking off, and it comprises of four vaulted concrete shells that seem to perch lightly on the ground. The flight center has few walls, and the exterior has canted banks of windows that allow for maximum penetration of natural light.
Trans World Flight Center
During its launch in 1962, the celebration was aired on national television and was dubbed the most distinctive example of corporate-showpiece of architecture. Despite capturing the futuristic spirit of the 1960s, it was phased out with the demand of larger planes and an increase of travelers. It went out of business in 2001, since it was too beautiful and too useless to live. For more than a decade, different factions were engaged in a tug of war as to the future purpose of the flight center, since it was too expensive to restore and structurally inflexible to be put to use by the airport.
In 2015, the Port Authority found a developer, MCR Development, willing to sign a 75-year lease on the flight center. MCR Development owns dozens of hotels, and they proposed to transform the TWA flight center into a restaurant-hotel-conference-center project. The transformation project broke ground in December 2015. MCR Development is injecting $256 million and it will be the most expensive airport hotel.
They have bulldozers digging a 50,000-square foot subterranean event space below and behind the old terminal. They will also flank the TWA flight center with two six-story buildings to house the new hotel’s 505 guest rooms, a rooftop swimming pool, and an observation deck. MCR Development seeks to have the hotel resemble a 1962 time capsule. There will be an Aston Martin DB4 and a fin-tailed Lincoln Continental to offer guests rides into the flight center terminals. Moreover, the staff members will dress in pillbox hats and old-style uniforms.