Terminal Silhouettes: JFK



As of the time of this writing, JFK was the last remaining airport I’d visited that I hadn’t yet created a terminal silhouette for. I saved it for last because I knew it would be a difficult silhouette to draw, and I wanted as much practice as possible with other airports before getting into this one.

Instead of functioning as one single passenger airport, JFK effectively acts as six individual airports, all sharing a common set of runways. This was by design – airlines (or consortia of airlines) were each given their own space and allowed to build their own terminals. Over the years, a number of terminals have been built and demolished, leaving six currently.

The six current terminals, overlaid over recent Google Earth imagery. Note how none of them look anything like each other.

Because of that, each terminal design is unique relative to the others, which meant there were very few graphical elements I could carry over between each terminal – each one effectively had to be drawn from scratch.

I think my favorite part of drawing this airport was the sunshade over the entrance to Terminal 2:

Normally I don’t include sunshades unless they’re particularly prominent or architecturally interesting, and I think this qualifies as both. It’s a 3-by-8 grid of adjacent octagons – but if you look closely, the grid is slightly curved. Thus, I had to use the imagery to find the center point of the imaginary circle that this grid was curved around, draw some radial guidelines from that point, and calculate the angle that I had to rotate each column of three octagons.

As mentioned above, I’ve now drawn a terminal silhouette for every airport I’ve visited to date. From here, I plan to go back and update a few terminals that have changed since I’ve drawn them (ICT and CVG have each torn down an old terminal), and I’ll draw terminals for new airports that I visit. If I have time, I may redraw some of my earliest terminals, as I’ve noticed a lot of minor mistakes I made in those silhouettes as a novice.



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