The Future Future of JFK Terminal 4

East, East Coast
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
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JFK Terminal 4, with 30 additional gates, as planned for some time in the future. (CLICK TO ZOOM)

If this rendering of Terminal 4 at JFK looks familiar, good. That means you’re reading, as it, or something very much like it, was in our story last week about the Port Authority and Delta’s plans for expanding the terminal. What is different, though, if you look closely, is the number of gates. This rendering was released by Delta last week, though it initially confounded us because the talk had been of nine new gates, not the 30 we counted when we compared it to the terminal’s current layout, which you can see and compare after the jump. It turns out, the wrong rendering had been released, and this is in fact the ultimate plans for the future development of Terminal 4, with 10 new gates on Concourse A (right) and 11 more added to Delta’s nine on Concourse B (left). That makes for a total of 46 gates—larger than some mid-sized airports—up from a current 16. No wonder they have to tear down Terminal 3 to make room for more plane parking. But not before Hal Hayes has something to say about it.

Terminal 4 today, with 16 gates.

Hayes was the lead planner at SOM when it created the current Terminal 4 a decade-and-a-half ago, and then he filled a similar role at HOK when it developed a prior plan for Delta at JFK. Now on his own, the architect takes issue with the preservationists we spoke to last week—to his mind, Terminal 3 is easily the most important of all at JFK, even compared to Saarinen’s Terminal 5, which he said is formally but not functionally groundbreaking. As for the threatened Terminal 6 by I.M. Pei, Hayes said Terminal 3 is “superior to Pei, especially in terms of aviation architecture. Pei’s is a pretty corporate box, but it could be anywhere.” Terminal 3, however, had an unparalleled design that allowed for passenger loading and maintenance to take place all under its unique canopy. “This is really the place that established the paradigm for airport architecture, and these terminals were treated like international headquarters, intended to be corporate icons,” Hayes said of JFK.

Terminal 4 in 2015, after Delta has added nine new gates and Terminal 3 has been torn down to make way for parking and taxiways.

Hayes said the biggest problem is that Terminal 3 “suffers from a no-name architect,” otherwise it might have a better shot at preservation—something he insists would be far easier than the Port Authority, Delta, or even some preservationists will allow. He proposes demolishing the ’70s addition, running the connector Delta is planning between terminals 2 and 4 through the old Terminal 3, and turning it into a grand mall of some sort, with the shops and eateries that are now familiar to any airport. As for the Port Authority’s insistence that there is no room for even remnants of the building, Hayes disagrees. “They can leave it pretty much where it is and not impact the new terminals or the parking one iota,” Hayes said. He should know, as this is precisely what his previous plans called for.

UPDATE: It was just announced that AECOM has won the $11 million contract to oversee construction on the terminal project. Is there anything they can do?

UPDATE 2: Hal Hayes writes: “There is a misquote about Saarinen’s Terminal 5, which I said was functionally groundbreaking and one of the terminals that created the paradigm for modern aviation terminal design, along with Terminal 3 and other early JFK Terminals. It was Terminal 6 that I said was not functionally innovative.”

4 Responses to “The Future Future of JFK Terminal 4”

  1. Mall Walker says:

    Please get an architect that understands flow to redesign this. The vast, long corridors span at least a mile in this rendering. Can we bring back the circular terminals of yore?

  2. rocket says:

    We have a third world infrastructure in this country. Anyone returning from Europe or Asia can see the difference in our airports. Why is it we can build stadiums at the drop of a hat but cannot build a 21st century airport for New York. New York is building, in the process, or recently built 5 stadiums — Yankee, Citifield, Meadowlands, Barclay Center and Nassau Coliseum. Sort of like the end days of the Roman empire.

  3. Elwood says:

    So they’re going to almost triple the number of gates at Terminal 4, but aren’t expanding any of the infrastructure, like passenger and baggage handling? How exactly is that going to work?

  4. Lisa Turano Wojcik says:

    It should not matter whether a building has a “no-name” architect or a world-famous one to get preserved. It should be saved on the structure’s merit of design, innovation of its time, history, and popular recognition–all of which the former Pan Am Worldport, now Delta’s T3, has.

    My father, Emanuel N. Turano, was not exactly a “no-name” either. He earned his master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, mentored by Walter Gropius. In fact, I.M. Pei was a classmate of my dad’s. After graduating, he was at SOM as Gordon Bunshaft’s design assistant on the pioneering Lever House. Later, he partnered with Phillip Ives and Louis Gardner.

    It was Ives, Turano, & Gardner that designed the Worldport. My father received awards for its design: Design Citation from New York State Association of Architects (1962), Architectural Award of Excellence from American Institute of Steel Construction (1961), and Design Citation from Queens Chamber of Commerce (1961).

    My father went on to do many more award-winning projects for governments, schools, and more. He taught at Columbia University and the Pratt Institute. My father was given an honorary PhD from Cooper Union, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Fellowship in the AIA, which is a most esteemed honor for but a few architects. Emanuel N. Turano, FAIA was definitely a “name” in his field.

    In any case, you can read a myriad of articles extolling Worldport’s architectural merits, landmarks in aviation history, and American cultural recognition. One of which I wrote: http://docomomo-us.org/december_2011_enews_brief .

    Then you can “Like” our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PanAmWorldport . And most importantly, SIGN THE PETITION TO SAVE THE WORLDPORT: https://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/save-the-pan-am-delta-terminal-3-at-jfk-airport .

    I am very grateful for the attention my father’s legacy is getting. And I am most indebted to Kalev Savi and Anthony Stramaglia for their hard work, time, and passion put into Worldport’s preservation.

    Thank you.
    Lisa Turano Wojcik

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