TWA at New York
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Architect Eero Saarinen
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Location New York, New York   map
Date 1956 to 1962   timeline
Building Type airport terminal
 Construction System concrete
Climate temperate
Context suburban
Style Modern
Notes Eero Saarinen and Associates. At Kennedy Airport. Free-flowing curves suggest flight.


Photo, exterior overview approaching terminal

Photo, exterior approaching terminal, flying roof

Photo, exterior, flying roof



Section Drawing

Axonometric Drawing

Plan Drawing


Discussion TWA at New York Commentary

"One of the most self-assured, self-confident— even self-conscious—buildings to emerge as a result of the interplay of the architectonic and engineer-inspired buildings was Saarinen's TWA Terminal Buildings at New York. It alarmed the remaining purists of modern architecture. Its bird-like symbolism, exciting forms and cavernous interior were not simply a casual reminder of the changes that had taken place in architectural thinking in the 1950s, but a demonstration of the architect's role as an originator and, in the American scene, as a 'building stylist'...Clearly it represented a revival of architectural Expressionism..."

— Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. p245.

"This is surely one of the world's most dramatic airline terminals. Few straight lines here: approached head on, its curving contours uncannily suggest a bird in flight. Inside, the main lobby's soaring, swooping walls, its carefully modeled staircases, seating areas, and many other features are a blend of graceful sculptural forms selected 'to suggest the excitement of the trip.'

— from Sylvia Hart Wright. Sourcebook of Contemporary North American Architecture: From Postwar to Postmodern. p117.

The Creator's Words

"All the curves, all the spaces and elements right down to the shape of the signs, display boards, railings and check-in desks were to be of a matching nature. We wanted passengers passing through the building to experience a fully-designed environment, in which each part arises from another and everything belongs to the same formal world."

—Eero Saarinen, 1959 from Peter Gossel and Gabriele Leuthauser. Architecture in the Twentieth Century. p250.

"We should stop thinking of our individual buildings. We should take the advice my father gave me, 'Always look at the next larger thing.' When the problem is a building, we should look at the spaces and relationships that that building creates with others....In the process [the architect] will gradually formulate strong convictions about outdoor space—the beauty of the space between the buildings—and if he does, he will carry his conviction on to his most important challenge—how to build cities."

— Eero Saarinen. from Allan Temko. Eero Saarinen. p26.

Sources on TWA at New York

Yukio Futagawa, ed. Global Architecture: TWA Terminal Building, Kennedy Airport, New York, and Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, Virginia. Tokyo: A.D.A. Edita Tokyo, 1973. plan, p47. sectional drawing, p46.

Toshio Nakamura, ed. Eero Saarinen. Architecture and Urbanism Extra Edition. April 1984, A+U E8404. Tokyo: A + U Publishing.

Eero Saarinen. Eero Saarinen On His Work. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1968. elevation of framing detail drawing, p69. plan detail drawing showing air fountain on left and base on right, p69.

William S. Saunders. Modern Architecture—Photographs by Ezra Stoller. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0-8109-3816-2. exterior photo, drop-off area, p120. interior photo, p121. — A wonderful & inspiring book of beautiful photographs by the master of architectural photography. Available at

Allan Temko. Eero Saarinen. New York: George Braziller, 1962. LC 62-16266. NA737.S28T4. discussion, p26.

Marcus Whiffen and Frederick Koeper. American Architecture, Volume 2. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984. interior photo, f304, p380. — An excellent survey of American architecture. Reprint Edition available at

Sylvia Hart Wright. Sourcebook of Contemporary North American Architecture: From Postwar to Postmodern. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1989. ISBN 0-422-29190-6. LC 89-5320. NA703.W75 1989. discussion, p117.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about TWA at New York


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