Architecture

Inside the new TWA hotel at JFK Airport

On May 15, JFK’s TWA Flight Center Hotel, located inside the iconic mid-century Saarinen Terminal, was officially opened to the public.

Eero Saarinen dreamed of greatness when he designed the TWA Flight Center in 1962 – it marked a new era in jet air transport, and the iconic shapes and wide sides of the mid-century building imitated the futuristic grandeur of the aircraft.

Unable to handle the new size of modern aircraft, the terminal closed in 2001 and remained obscure for the next 16 years.

This month, the terminal finally sees a new light as a respite for travelers, who can choose a one-day or overnight stay. The MCR and Morse Development developers have completely restored Saarinen’s landmark to the icon it was during the jet age, an aviation period defined by the advent of turbine engines, making the transcontinental and intercontinental journey faster, easier, and more possible.

The new TWA hotel is sprawling. 505 guest rooms, 50,000 square feet of conference and meeting space, 8 restaurants and a 10,000 square foot public viewing terrace share a single roof.
Saarinen’s Womb Chair makes an appearance in a red chili pepper Knoll fabric next to a white Saarinen tulip side table. The vintage rotary phone, a Western Electric 500 from the 1950s, is even custom equipped with a pulse to tone converter thanks to Old Phone Works.

For all the planes in sight, you’ll barely hear them. A Fabbrica glass curtain wall creates an acoustic barrier between you and the continuous rumbling of the track. The wall, made of seven windows and measuring 4.5 inches, is the second thickest in the world after the U.S. Embassy in London.
The retro-chic TWA lounge, equipped with vintage TWA souvenirs, a chili pepper red carpet and TWA uniforms, looks like an altar dedicated to the glory of jet travel; a nostalgic reminder of the mysterious, fun and exciting way to fly at that time. It will also boost our optimism about airports and future air travel.

What: TWA Hotel
Location: JFK Airport, Jamaica, NY 11430
Price? Room prices from $239
Design concept: Ultra-quiet guest rooms with prominent aircraft, Knoll furniture such as a Saarinen Womb chair and tulip side table, and Hollywood-style Philip Johnson-inspired vanity.
Book a room: Visit the TWA hotel

Pictures by the TWA hotel.

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