Melissa Hope Matlins

All Aboard for Nari-dah
September 25, 2006, 12:12 am
Filed under: Architecture, Springfield, Illinois, Suburbanism

lambert22.jpgThe St. Louis airport by Minoru Yamasaki echoes Saarinen’s soaring TWA terminal in New York City. While Saarinen’s terminal is arguably the finest architectural monument to air travel ever made, The St. Louis airport terminal is a mere concrete hiccup on the barren midwest landscape. At TWA, elegant forms reflect the glamour and excitement of a journey that people used to dress up for. In St. Louis the hulking, truncated forms reflect the mundane experience of passing-through, or reluctantly arriving at, a regional airport.
“Headed to Nari-dah?” The airline attendants voice, a flat, high nasal midwestern accent, jolts me from my architectural reverie. I don’t understand what he is saying. This will be a common theme during my travels, but largely in Japan.


4 Comments so far
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I had no idea, always thought it was a saarinen. Another notch for the great japanese architects active in st louis[pullitzer] and springfield[horace mann lincoln and uis]

Comment by neilmatlins

The St. Louis Lambert Terminal preceded the Sarinen TWA terminal by 6 years. The Lambert terminal was completed in 1956. TWA in 1962. The Lambert terminal was the first big open space air terminal in the nation. Yamasaki was trying to evoke the sense of anticipation that the great train stations evoked at the heyday of the train era. Terminals that followed, such as Denver, point to Lambert as one of icons they chose to emulate to get that big open dramatic meeting space terminal feeling. Sarinen might have used it as inspiration for the TWA terminal, since he probably traveled to St. Louis frequently for his St. Louis Gateway Arch development. Unlike the TWA, the Lambert teriminal has been in continuous use since it was built. It is being refurbished to get back to the bright / airy design afforded by the thin concrete arch forms.

Comment by Gary Kreie

Here is a newer picture of the 50 year old icon.

Comment by Gary Kreie

The gateway arch is really an impressiv building. Especially the elevators are awesome. I really recommend everybody to check it out.

Comment by ferien

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