Xerjoff Magazine

TWA Hotel: back to the future


After years, the TWA Flight Center of the JFK airport in New York designed in 1962 by Eero Saarinen, re-opens transformed in a charming and comfortable hotel

The TWA Flight Center at JFK airport in New York, designed by the great Finnish architect Eero Saarinen and inaugurated in 1962, is a true architectural masterpiece, with a clear Neo-Futurist touch that still today communicates a sense of great dynamism thanks to its fluid and sinuous curved shapes. The building was commissioned in the fifties by the Trans World Airlines as a terminal and in 1994 the Historical Monuments Commission for the conservation of monuments, which prevented its demolition, declared it a landmark of the city. However, since 2001 the terminal remained unused, as it was considered obsolete to accommodate the volume of passengers and to cope with the evolution of aircrafts.

Today, having obtained the necessary permits, this structure has been converted into a sophisticated hotel thanks to the work of the New York based studios Lubrano Chiavarra Architects and Beyer Blinder Belle. Leading the restoration work was the desire to maintain the atmosphere that Saarinen created in the 1960’s. No wonder that the brass lighting, the walnut furniture and the rotary-dial telephones have been maintained. The floor tiles and the 486 window panels have been replaced with replicas of the originalsEven the color palette has remained that of the past with the corridors covered in red carpet evoking, together with white, the symbolic colors of the airline.

However, the reference to the legendary 1960’s went hand in hand with an idea of an absolutely contemporary comfort. For example we could mention the sound-absorbing panels to neutralize the noises of the nearby runway in the 512 hotel rooms furnished with original Saarinen furniture (the Womb chairs and the white Tulip tables). Inside the building there are also six restaurants, eight bars, a conference room, a club, a spa, various shops, a museum dedicated to the history of the TWA and a swimming pool on the rooftop. The restoration project also included the restoration of the iconic interiors designed by Charles Eames, Raymond Loewy and Warren Platner. The opening of the TWA Hotel is scheduled for next May.