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Alexandra Lange

Damned Icons


I just think it’s damned anyway. I don’t know if any amount of preservation lobbying would make a difference, and I don’t know what the argument would be. What are they going to do with another structure there with no assigned use? They’ve already got that with TWA.

That’s John Morris Dixon, former Progressive Architecture editor and chronicler of the best of mid-century corporate design, in the Architect’s Newspaper’s article on the many modern icons about to bite the dust at John F. Kennedy Airport. Above is Terminal 3, from 1960, and there has been previous coverage of Delta’s plan to demolish I.M. Pei’s Terminal 6. Earlier in the article DOCOMOMO’s Nina Rappaport makes the equally excellent point that the Port Authority needs to look at all of its properties, identify potential landmarks, and not let them just rot and throw up their hands.

It is outrageous, and it leads to the ongoing tragedy of Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal. It sits there, empty, next to JetBlue’s so-so Terminal 5, as an object lesson about how preservation and redevelopment have to operate in tandem. TWA is not deteriorating — at least I don’t think so — since the last year was spent in asbestos abatement, and its iconicity, famous architect and landmark status should give it security. But you never know.



Posted in: Architecture, Preservation

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Alexandra Lange Alexandra Lange is an architecture and design critic, and author of Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). Her work has appeared in The Architect’s Newspaper, Architectural Record, Dwell, Metropolis, Print, New York Magazine and The New York Times.

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