Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oh yeah... Thanks JetBlue

Balancing the demands of shameless and brutal commerce with the impossible dreams of the preservationists, JetBlue has restored a measure of sanity into this cruel and sterile world. JetBlue resisted the temptation to raze Eero Saarinen's iconic Terminal 5 to make way for their new JFK complex. Just as significant, they also pushed back attempts to preserve the site as an obsolete museum piece.

The new JetBlue JFK terminal complex places Saarinen's masterpiece at the center of a beautiful, functional and, environmentally-friendly facility.

Nearly 50 years ago, after the concrete was poured, Saarinen and his chief engineer stood underneath the structure as the scaffolding was being removed.

When the last support was dismantled the architect paused for a moment, turned to his colleague and said:

"If this whole thing came came crashing down on my head right now, I would die a happy man."

It didn't. Firmitas, utilitas, venustas.

Vitruvius would be proud.

Bravo JetBlue.


Claude Scales said...

I'll be flying JetBlue out of JFK on Monday, and look forward to seeing the new terminal. I was in Saarinen's building only once before, in the mid 1990s when I flew TWA to Stockholm. It will be interesting to see first hand how well JetBlue has done with their exercise in adaptive re-use.

Joseph Martini said...

Oh no... Claude. You've been reading.

I promise I won't tell.

I don't think the original T5 is open yet. They might still be doing the asbestos removal. As far as adaptive re-use, I think the Saarinen building will be more ornamental than functional.

JetBlue and the PA, I'm told, will looking for a tenant.

So while travelers with time will be able to enter the new T5 through the old T5, most will bypass it and drive straight up to the new terminal.