TWA Terminal Tour
March 25, 2015
TWA Terminal, John F. Kennedy Airport
The New York Landmarks Conservancy was pleased to offer its Professional Circle members a tour of the recently restored TWA Terminal led by Jim Steven, manager of physical plant and redevelopment at JFK.
The TWA Terminal, designed by Eero Saarinen, opened in 1962 and is one of the most photographed and widely admired Modernist buildings in the country. The City of New York designated both the interiors and the exteriors of the terminal a historic landmark in 1993 and in 2005 the National Park Service listed the Terminal on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Conservancy was part of the effort to restore and reuse the Terminal for more than a decade. Built when air travel was a completely different experience, it no longer met the modern needs of an airline terminal and would have had to undergo disfiguring major alterations to serve its original function. As a member of the Redevelopment Advisory Committee set up by the State Historic Preservation Office and the Park Service as part of the project’s public review process, the Conservancy monitored every step of its redevelopment, including the construction of the new Jet Blue terminal behind the landmark and the Terminal’s restoration.
The renovation of the Saarinen building, overseen by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects, included repairs to the roof and drainage systems, removal of later unsympathetic accretions, and asbestos abatement of the enormous ceiling. It also included restoration of the original flooring, seating areas, and even the flight information board and information desk.
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Throughout the year, Circle tours go behind-the-scenes of some of New York’s most interesting historic properties. Some tours require hard hats to visit projects during restoration, while others showcase completed restorations of commercial buildings, residences, museums, churches, and synagogues. On occasion, conservators, engineers, and craftspeople open their studios to our Circle members.