Beyer Blinder Belle, INC, Lubrano Ciavarra, and Stonehill Taylor Propel Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center into a 21st-Century Hotel

Restored by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, Eero Saarinen’s 1962 TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens serves as the lobby of the TWA Hotel, its guest rooms housed in twin buildings by Lubrano Ciavarra Architects, which also devised the project’s master plan. Photography by Eric Laignel.

The flight center’s original sunken lounge has been restored to its full ’60s glory. Photography by Eric Laignel.

It sits in front of the hotel’s two seven-story buildings, the Hughes and the Saarinen Wings, which contain a total of 512 rooms. Photography by Eric Laignel.

The concrete form of the flight center is echoed in the curved aluminum-and-glass facade of the hotel’s Saarinen Wing behind it. Photography by Eric Laignel.

An under-mezzanine corridor off the lobby, once a part of baggage claim, is now the reception area. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Saarinen’s Tulip tables and stools dot the sunken lounge, which overlooks the Connie, a Lockheed Constellation airliner that now serves as a cocktail bar. Photography by Eric Laignel.

INC Architecture & Design transformed part of the flight center’s former baggage-claim area into a small ballroom illuminated with custom ceiling fixtures. Photography by Eric Laignel.

The Connie, parked on a reconstructed expanse of tarmac, is reflected in the terminal’s soaring window, which is fitted with new heat-absorbent tempered glass. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Stonehill Taylor outfitted guest rooms with custom martini bars. Photography by Eric Laignel.

A flight tube that once connected the terminal to a departure satellite now leads to the hotel’s Saarinen Wing. Photography by Eric Laignel.

A TWA-branded sweatshirt hangs in a guest room. Photography by Eric Laignel.

The hotel’s curtain wall of 5-inch-thick, seven-layer glass protects rooms from airport noise. Photography by Eric Laignel.

In a guest room, a Warren Platner side table sits between a pair of Saarinen’s classic 1948 Womb chairs. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Bathroom walls are clad in vertically oriented subway tile. Photography by Eric Laignel.

The event center’s main ballroom is located 30 feet below the tarmac on which the Connie sits. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Ceiling and cove lighting keep an underground tunnel to the events center from feeling claustrophobic. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Walnut paneling flanks the grand staircase that connects the event center’s three levels. Photography by Eric Laignel.

In the events center lobby, a restored Saarinen marble and penny-tile circular bench, once in the flight center’s sunken lounge, sits on the poured-in-place terrazzo floor. Photography by Eric Laignel.

The restoration has made the sensuous flow of Saarinen’s flight center even more evident. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Atop the Hughes Wing, Lubrano Ciavarra’s 63-foot lap pool features a beach entry, an infinity edge, and a built-in bench spanning the length. It’s lined with penny tiles reminiscent of those in the flight center and includes TWA–branded medallions water-jet cut from Italian terrazzo tiles. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Richard Schultz chaise longues originally designed in 1966 furnish the pool deck, which is serviced by a bar beyond. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Restored airline seats outfit the Connie bar. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Custom banquettes, served by Saarinen tables and stools, provide more traditional lounge spaces on the converted airplane. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Both the Connie and the flight center are emblazoned with the defunct airline’s distinctive logo and brand colors. Photography by Eric Laignel.

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