Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo paid tribute to the soaring architecture of the TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport, calling the Eero Saarinen-designed terminal an "iconic landmark." As construction begins on a new hotel, as well as the flight center's restoration, PBS will air a new American Masters documentary about the brilliant mid-century architect, Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future.

Saarinen's career includes other monuments of modern buildings, including the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan (both are National Historic Landmarks). He also designed Dulles Airport and the Ingalls Rink at Yale, which is where he studied architecture.

However, perhaps due to its closure in 2001, the TWA Flight Center might be the most romanticized of his buildings. This exclusive clip looks at how he would actually build large models to understand how to create the sweeping lines (you'll also see some great drone footage, and his son Eric Saarinen, who served at director of photography for the documentary, visit the empty TWA Flight Center):

Referring to his father's sudden death at age 51 from a brain tumor in 1961 (a year before the flight center opened), Eric Saarinen said, "Closure was something I didn't have with my dad. But I forgive him for his genius. He figured out a way to be important across time, so even though he died young, he is still alive."

The film also features interviews with architects Kevin Roche, César Pelli, Rafael Viñoly, and Robert A. M. Stern, and industrial designer Niels Diffrient, as well as architecture critic Paul Goldberger and Architectural Record's Cathleen McGuigan, among others. Peter Franzén and Blythe Danner are the voices of Eero and his second wife Aline Saarinen

"This film is both an immersive look at an architect's work and a father-son story across generations. Once Eric agreed to go on this journey with me, I knew the results would be compelling and revealing," said filmmaker Peter Rosen.

Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future airs at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, December 27.