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Counter Point

2011 October 18

The TWA Flight Center visible from the bridge that connects the JFK AirTrain to the 3 year old Jet Blue terminal. When the Port Authority first proposed building a new terminal around the classic Eero Saarinen structure, there was some opposition to the plan. The great modern architect Philip Johnson said, “If you’re going to strangle a building to death, you might as well tear it down.” Especially when you consider that the current plan calls for building a hotel in the small amount of space left between the new and old buildings, you can see his point. Its giant graceful “wings”, which should reach boldly into the sky, are now dwarfed and confused by clutter. What should evoke the freedom of flight, instead feels trapped and encumbered. I’m a huge champion of saving old architecture, but you have to wonder: is this really saving it?

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