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22-acres, adjacent to the TWA international terminal by Eero Saarinen (1962)

Index to Projects in New York

New York, New York

Gross Floor Area
352,000 s/f

Originally Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; subsequently National Airlines, Miami, Florida

Time Frame

Planning: 4/62–
(competition completed)
Construction: 10/66–
Completion: 10/70

National Airlines Terminal
(renamed TWA Terminal Annex)

JFK International Airport, New York, New York
Completed 1970


Lead Designer: I. M. Pei


2-story airline passenger terminal

Click on image to enlarge

This airline terminal, the winner of a national design competition, was undertaken to complete Idlewild (now JFK International) Airport. In planning, form and structure it was designed to provide unique solutions to congestion, particularly vehicular traffic, which, by 1960, had already become the most critical problem to confront airport planning. Unlike other terminals, where automobile circulation had traditionally been confined to the front of the building and baggage movement to the back, circulation was facilitated by divided roadways to the virtual elimination of surface congestion.  With a drop-off platform in front of the terminal and a pick-up platform at back, curbside access was effectively doubled. (Baggage movement was relocated underground).

The terminal itself was designed for simplicity, restraint and high visibility amid the airport's clutter of unrelated, assertive buildings. Using glass as a primary building material — a first in U.S. airport construction — the terminal consists of two rectangular pavilions for arrivals and departures interconnected with two cylindrical satellites for boarding / deplaning. The main (departures) pavilion is surrounded by double-height window walls hung from a space frame and supported by concrete columns outside the building. The open solution allowed great internal flexibility and proved readily adaptable, while the terminal was under construction, to modifications required by the introduction of 747 jumbo jets.


Major Components

Departure Pavilion
60,630 s/f; 43'-0" high (2 floors above grade, 1 below)

Arrival Pavilion
68,460 s/f; 21'-10" high (2 floors above grade, 1 below)

60,840 s/f; 25'-6" high (2 floors above grade, 1 below)

Basement Tunnels




City Club of New York: Albert S. Bard Award



Concrete Industry Board Award


I. M. Pei & Partners services

Complete Architectural Services



Amman and Whitney, New York, NY  


Mechanical / Electrical

Seelye, Stevenson, Value and Knecht, New York, NY 



Travers Associates, Clifton, NJ



Photo credits

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