The latest news on New York architecture.

  • Latest updates on the fate of Saarinen's TWA Flight Terminal

    Latest updates on the fate of Saarinen's TWA Flight Terminal

    Governor Cuomo recently revealed the future of JFK Airport's iconic TWA Flight Center designed by Eero Saarinen. This terminal has sat vacant for 14 years. Although it's been known that the terminal would house a hotel, who would make develop this idea was a mystery until last week. MCR Development has a plant to turn the historic structure into The TWA Flight Center Hotel, a facility with 505 hotel rooms, 40,000 square feet of meeting space, six to eight dining establishments, and a 10,000-square-foot observation deck.

    In a statement, CEO Tyler Morse says the development "will celebrate and preserve" the building, "returning the landmark to its original glory and reopening it to the public. [...] Whether staying the night or simply exploring, international visitors and New Yorkers alike will be able to experience the magic of the Jet Age in this extraordinary mid-century icon."


    A rendering shows a low rise building peeking out from behind Saarinen's swooping beauty, and a press release says that the new building will "set back from the terminal, designed to defer to the landmark," which will become the hotel's lobby. The new building and any changes to the Flight Center, which is an interior and exterior landmark, will have to be approved by go before the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
    [UPDATE: While the LPC will have a say in the process, the project is actually not under the commission's jurisdiction since it is owned by the Port Authority, which is not bound by LPC decisions.]
    The developer also has a "plan to include innovative museum focusing on New York as the birthplace of the Jet Age, the storied history of TWA Airlines, and the Midcentury Modern design movement." The redevelopment is a public-private partnership between MCR Development, JetBlue, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, but it will be privately funded. MCR converted the old General Theological Seminary into the High Line Hotel, so they know a thing or two about working with historic buildings. Governor Cuomo said that officials are currently working on a masterplan for the entirety of JFK Airport, which should be unveiled within 12 months. Work on the TWA Flight Center Hotel is expected to break ground next year, and open in 2018.
    And now, just for fun, some photos inside the glorious building:

  • New Whitney Museum

    New Whitney Museum

    They say the building is "not about the architecture but the art", but passing it the other day it was hard not to appreciate this modern beauty. If you are NYC and have some free time make sure to give it a visit. The Whitney Museum of American Art has never stayed in one place for long. It has had four different homes in its 84-year history — the latest a $422 million glass-and-steel construction that recently opened in Manhattan's Meatpacking District — and each of those homes speaks to a particular moment in the evolution of American art and museum culture.


    The new building has several terraces, part of a design that some critics say distract from the art. Nic Lehoux/Courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art

    The museum's first home was established by its founder — a woman who was born into one of the country's wealthiest families, and then married into another. Her name was Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and she was a big supporter of the so-called Ashcan School and artists like George Bellows and Edward Hopper, who painted the gritty reality of life in the city. And according to Bruce Altshuler, director of the museum studies program at New York University, Whitney was also a working sculptor. "She was not just a patron," he says, "but actually a member of an artist community." Altshuler is standing inside the Whitney Museum's first home, which consists of several converted row houses that today house the New York Studio School. He says Whitney moved here in the 1910s. She lived upstairs, kept a sculpture studio downstairs and started organizing shows by American artists. "She amassed a quite substantial collection of artworks which, in 1929, she offered to the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a gift," he says. "They turned it down and she decided to open her own museum."