TWA Flight Center

The TWA Flight Center holds significance as a building for several reasons. As a work of architecture, the terminal has the distinction of being legendary architect Saarinen’s last building, as it was completed posthumously in 1962. …

The opening of the TWA Flight Center in all its jet-age splendor marked a shift in the history of air travel in which middle-class Americans could now afford to fly. Clearly, the terminal’s heyday coincided with the golden age of flying, in which travelers were restricted neither by economic class nor security concerns.

…the TWA terminal is significant to historical preservationists, as the journey to its 2003 landmarking was deemed one of the nation’s most inspiring preservation stories. In many ways, Walters and ChronoPoints’s scanning and education project is a continuation of that dedication to preserving and remembering the building in some form.

The TWA Flight Center is being converted into a hotel, so while it’s not being destroyed it’s certainly going to change. It’s a great example of creatively adapting something remarkable.

I think the preservationists approach of documenting it prior to conversion is valuable, too. It’s a model that can be adopted by historical and preservationist societies everywhere, driven by the insight that the public has to have an opportunity to experience (at least visually) what they’re landmarking and why.

Doing so helps places share their stories better, which equips residents to understand what makes their community remarkable. We need more of that across the country: not just preservation, but preservations who actively help other encounter what’s been preserved in a more reasonable way than expecting everyone to visit a museum.