In 1957, SOM designed the former International Arrivals Building for New York’s Idlewild Airport (now the John F. Kennedy International Airport). By the mid-1990s, the facility had become cramped and outdated. SOM led a revitalization effort to create a spacious new building that could meet the needs of modern air travel.
The resulting terminal — a three-level facility able to serve seven million passengers yearly — reasserted JFK’s status as the preeminent gateway to North America. Considered at the time of its completion to be a model terminal for the 21st century, the building embraces efficiency and functionality as exciting elements of the travel experience.
The steel-and-glass-span building recalls the tradition of great civic transportation hubs. A sweeping roof with linear skylights admits daylight, saving a considerable amount of energy. The addition of two-level roadways (one for pick-ups, one for drop offs) facilitates a smooth flow of traffic outside the building. Inside, a clear layout and improved signage enable passengers to easily navigate the vast terminal.