Unexpectedly Expected, Part Two
Ty Osbaugh in Airport Design, JetBlue, Rooftop Garden, aviation

This post is the second of Ty Osbaugh’s story about why we’ve come to expect pleasant surprises from  design for JetBlue at JFK International Airport. Read the first post here.

Image © Paul Rivera

Imagine for a moment that you’re enjoying a beautiful New York day on a roof terrace with your family. The kids are romping atop a small landscaped hill, you’re sitting at a rooftop picnic table enjoying a view of nearby planes taking off. Your dog is within sight, too—playing in an area reserved for pets, rolling around with a few canine friends. Then imagine something unexpected: you’re on a rooftop… at the airport.

This is exactly the kind of unexpectedly expected event that JetBlue is known for creating, and they’re offering you the opportunity to have this experience on the rooftop of Terminal 5 at JFK International Airport. At their newly-opened rooftop park, you’ll have access to the only airside pet relief area in the country. And this rooftop garden isn’t reserved for elite travelers; it’s open to everyone who clears security at JFK T5.


Image © Paul Rivera

As with all of T5, the design of the rooftop is rooted in JetBlue’s brand: it’s fresh and fun. This isn’t the roof deck at Soho House; it’s more approachable, more functional, and more family and pet-friendly. Subtle design cues like paving surfaces that range from wood to concrete (durable, we’re still at an airport) and turf offer people a very different experience from that of the concourse. Two large berms are focal points, sloping in all directions so it’s comfortable to sit or even lie down on them. Native plants dot the landscape in planters separating the dog walk and also encircling the seating and play areas.

The rooftop caters to business travelers, too—there is free Wi-Fi available, and customers can grab a bite to eat at one of three food carts. For design aficionados, the rooftop offers a great view of one of the icons of modern architecture: Eero Saarinen’s TWA terminal.

What you see today is the first phase of the rooftop; JetBlue has an eye to future expansion, based on how heavily customers use the new amenity.

Image © Paul Rivera

There’s no doubt: the T5 Rooftop offers a very different airport experience. It’s rare for an airport to have enjoyable outdoor space, it’s even rarer to have it airside, and it’s unheard of to open the space up to ALL passengers, not just elite or “club” members. The T5 Rooftop is designed for everyone, and there is something very democratic and very JetBlue about that.

The T5 Rooftop will be truly unexpected for most passengers, but then again... travelers expect the unexpected from JetBlue.

Ty Osbaugh dreams of flying. More specifically, he dreams of making the experience of flight better through smart design. A principal and leader of Gensler’s global Aviation + Transportation practice, Ty teams with clients to improve their business by creating a world-class passenger experience. And encouraging them to dream as well. Contact Ty ty_osbaugh@gensler.com.
Article originally appeared on architecture and design (http://www.gensleron.com/).
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