So apparently in the news, and on our message boards everyone is talking about the proposed destruction of a modernist stained glass icon, the enormous mural created by Robert Sowers and fabricated by Willet studios at JFK International airport in NYC, to make way for a renovation of the terminal. In all my years in NY, I never actually saw this piece in person, a pity. I dont foresee me getting out that way before it comes down either.
having never seen it, I cant make a judgement on it, but I will say Sowers was one of ther most respected name in our field in contemporary times, and this mural is referenced in every major book on the modern movements of Stained Glass. Sowers also wrote some good books too, on how to understand the language of glass.
heres a blurb from a USA TODAY website:
JFK's glass facade to be torn down
American Airlines will tear down its famed stained-glass façade at John F. Kennedy International's Terminal 8 by next May. The 317-by-23-foot wall, unveiled in 1960 and designed by glass artist Robert Sowers, is one of the world's largest stained-glass walls and has become a JFK airport trademark. The demolition of American's Terminal 8 and its facade in 2007 is part of a $1.2 billion project by the airline to create one terminal for all its customers at the airport. The glass may be donated to a museum and/or be cut into small pieces to be given to the airline's employees as memorabilia."
and this article below found here...
Demolishing a Celebrated Wall of Glass
By RUTH FORD
Published: July 23, 2006
When American Airlines Terminal 8 opened in 1960 at what was then New York International Airport at Idlewild, its most striking feature was the great stained-glass facade. The structure, made of red, sapphire and white glass tiles, wasn’t just public art; it also allowed light into the terminal, while keeping those inside from broiling in the south-facing building.
But next May, the 317-foot-by-23-foot translucent wall will come down. American Airlines is razing Terminal 8 as part of a $1.1 billion expansion that will create one terminal to serve all its customers at John F. Kennedy International Airport. “The cathedral,” as the abstract mosaic has sometimes been called, will vanish.
The airline had hoped to salvage the window, designed by the artist Robert Sowers, but was put off by the expense. “It would cost $1 million just to take it down,” said Steven Silver, who manages real estate at American. So when the terminal is demolished, the only act of preservation will be to use some of the glass to make key chains for airline employees.
Martin Rambusch, a fourth-generation fabricator of stained glass, whose grandfather helped assemble the window’s 30,000 tiles, said the plan to scrap it was “very disappointing.” The facade was once the largest stained-glass installation in the world, he said, adding that it was surpassed only in 1979 by Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas, three of whose four walls are stained glass.
(Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company)