The extraordinary Pan American terminal (Worldport) at JFK International Airport in New York is now sadly under the threat of demolition. Designed in 1958 by Walter Prokosch of Tibbetts Abbott McCarthy Stratton, it has great historical and formal significance. Among other innovations, it was the first jet terminal to provide shelter for embarking passengers under an elliptical four acre cantilever roof. Passengers would watch their aircraft nose up to the perimeter glass wall and then cross over by open, elevated bridges. The ground level was freed for servicing and baggage handling. Entrance to the building was through a 100ft wide air curtain, protected from winds by a 200ft long glass screen adorned with large bronzes. These sculptures, by Milton Hebald, now gather dust in a Port Authority hangar. In a time when air travel now approaches bus travel in levels of grimness and banality, the terminal is a marvellous reminder of a more civilized, leisurely era, when people dressed up to fly and had proper meals from menus. Elegant in its simplicity and scale, the Pan Am terminal provided a memorable gateway to New York and certainly deserves preservation and re-use.
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|Title Annotation:||Pan American airport terminal in disrepair|
|Publication:||The Architectural Review|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2000|
|Next Article:||Letter from St Petersburg.|