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Page 17
AUSTIN EXECUTIVE AIRPORT
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
R
on
W. H
enRiksen
Chapter 1
LaGuardia Field), which served both land
planes and seaplanes and included a marine
air terminal with a dramatic curved drum-
like structure that resembled the Pantheon in
Rome. In 1956, TWA airlines hired unortho-
dox architect Eero Saarinen to design a new
terminal. Saarinen suggested that the entire
building should say "flight" and crafted a
new terminal that most admit resembles
a giant winged bird with its pinions spread
in flight. Nicknamed by some the "Grand
Central of the Jet Age," Saarinen's ultramod-
ern, wavelike structure shaped the future of
airport design.
2011. Henriksen Jet Center with massive hangar to store aircraft.
Photo courtesy of Patrick Y. Wong/Atelier Wong Photography.
A history buff and architect, Howard Hill
was intuitively drawn to the airport buildings
of 1930s and 1940s. Mostly he was attracted
by the role that curved surfaces played in
the design. The vast majority of small air-
port builders didn't put a lot of money into
the design of the terminal building. Instead
they made life easy on the airplanes by creat-
ing smooth runways, simple traffic patterns,
and ample hangar space. The actual terminal
structure was a sort of afterthought, often
nothing more than a tin box or a squat modu-
lar building hauled on site and bolted in place.
I wanted to build something very different.