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Home arrow Working with Section 106 arrow ACHP Case Digest arrow Fall 2002 arrow New York: Redevelopment of the TWA Terminal at JFK International Airport, New York
New York: Redevelopment of the
TWA Terminal at JFK International Airport,
New York

Agency: Federal Aviation Administration

With its wing-like, vaulted roof and curvilinear interior elements, the TWA terminal at New York’s JFK International Airport is a masterpiece of modern expressionistic architecture. But a new terminal is being built, and the historic TWA terminal will no longer be used as a passenger facility.

The fate of the historic building has ignited concern from citizens across the country and internationally, and the architect’s homeland, Finland, has even become a consulting party in the case.

Designed by noted architect Eero Saarinen in the early 1960s, the modern expressionistic TWA Terminal at JFK International Airport in New York achieved eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places less than 50 years after its construction because of its exceptional significance as a classic example of the Modern Movement.

TWA Terminal, JFK International Airport, New York, New York

 

 

TWA Terminal, JFK International Airport, New York, NY (photo courtesy of
New York Port Authority)

 

 

Recently, however, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey requested from the Federal Aviation Administration an amendment to the Airport Layout Plan that includes plans for a new terminal building. The plan would effectively retain much of the historic TWA terminal, but the building would lose its “flight wings” where the gates are located, and would be isolated from the airfield and no longer used as a passenger facility. Adaptive use of the historic terminal for an as yet undetermined use is proposed.

Many people are weighing in on the fate of the historic building. The Municipal Art Society of New York presented several alternative designs aimed at keeping the historic building as a working terminal, and ACHP has received a significant number of letters from concerned citizens across the country and around the world.

The Government of Finland, where Eero Saarinen was born, requested to be a consulting party in the Section 106 process for the project. Other consulting parties include the New York State Historic Preservation Officer, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, the Municipal Art Society of New York, and Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites, and Neighborhoods of the Modern Movement.

An agreement on the treatment of the historic TWA terminal is under development. The parties are currently discussing issues such as the interim maintenance of the historic terminal pending eventual adaptive use; the process for seeking a developer that will re-use the building; the restoration of portions of the historic building to its original appearance; the development of long-term maintenance and preservation guidelines; and recording and interpreting the facility.

Staff contact: Druscilla Null


Posted November 7, 2002

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