Slowly but surely, the conversion of Eero Saarinen’s majestic TWA Terminal at JFK Airport into a luxury hotel is moving forward. And at an event launching the TWA Lounge at One World Trade Center, Tyler Morse, the CEO of developer MCR, revealed that the new hotel building will begin to go vertical next week, marking a huge construction milestone for the project.
A new rendering offers a view of the front of the hotel complex, with Saarinen’s iconic head house in the foreground, and the two hotel “wings”—which will hold about 500 rooms between them—in the background.
For those who’ve worried that the hotel-ification of Saarinen’s masterpiece will ruin the spectacular building, the hotel team’s enthusiasm for the project may assuage those fears.
“We are bringing her back to life,” said Morse. He noted that the year 1962—the year the TWA Terminal originally debuted—is the inspiration for the hotel, and all of the spaces within the Saarinen terminal (including the Ambassador’s Club) will be restored to their midcentury glory.
And as we previously reported, the main terminal building will not only have its own nightlife spots, but will also connect to a restored Lockheed Super Constellation aircraft, the inside of which will be a restaurant and bar. The aircraft will sit between the two “tubes” of the building, which currently lead to the JFK Terminal, and will also connect to the hotel itself.
The team behind the hotel includes MCR; Beyer Blinder Belle, which is working as the restoration architect; and Lubrano Ciavarra, which is designing the new hotel portion of the complex. (An interior designer for the hotel has yet to be revealed.) Morse noted that they’re also working with 22 different government agencies on the project—a feat in and of itself.
The TWA Lounge, meanwhile, is located on the 86th floor of One WTC, and is an extremely detailed re-creation of the Saarinen structure, with a functional Solari departure board—created specifically for the gallery—as one of its many callbacks. (And yes, the original Solari board will remain as part of the TWA Hotel design.)
The lounge is also filled to the brim with vintage TWA ephemera, with everything from branded cigarettes and pins, to old uniforms and models on display. There’s even an enormous model of the TWA Terminal, created in 1962 by Saarinen himself.
When the hotel opens, a museum—built to display exactly these sorts of items and pay homage to TWA’s lengthy history—will also be on site.
The hotel got its groundbreaking last December. According to Morse, the project is sticking to its construction deadline, with the whole shebang expected to open in about 18 months.