As I.M. Pei’s JFK Terminal Is Demolished, Saarinen’s Prepares to Welcome Visitors

A Tale of Two Terminals JFK’s Terminal 6, designed by I. M. Pei of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, and the TWA Terminal designed by Eero Saarinen.

On last night’s episode of Pan-Am, we learned that there was a time when a cyan stewardess uniform could not only save one from death at the hands of the Stasi but also afford entry into champagne-laden government functions (at least when President Kennedy was involved). Nowadays, dacron separates and a name badge tend to impede one’s progress, and the golden age of air travel? Its icons are being demolished. Such is the fate of Terminal 6 at New York’s JFK Airport. Designed by I.M. Pei with fetching all-glass mullions, it opened in 1969 as the National Airlines “Sundrome” and was vacated three years ago, when JetBlue decamped to the shiny, Pepsi-sponsored land of wonders that is Terminal 5.

“The boarding gates are already piles of rubble,” wrote David W. Dunlap in a recent post about Terminal 6 on The New York Times‘ City Room blog. “The main pavilion, whose white steel roof seems to float ethereally over cascades of diaphanous green glass, is expected to come down by the end of October.” But all is not lost. Eero Saarinen‘s curvilinear TWA Terminal is getting a second life. The designated city landmark has been undergoing extensive renovation under the auspices of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the direction of Beyer Blinder Belle. Next Sunday afternoon, the swooping site will welcome visitors as part of Open House New York. Arrive by 1 p.m. to catch a talk by project manager Charles Kramer of BBB and James Steven, the PANYNJ’s manager of JFK Physical Plant and Redevelopment.