LAX Theme Building, Los Angeles

4.3
Observation Deck · Hidden Gem · Landmark
The Theme Building is an iconic Space Age structure at the Los Angeles International Airport. Influenced by "Populuxe" architecture, it is an example of the Mid-century modern design movement later to become known as "Googie".
The distinctive white building resembles a flying saucer that has landed on its four legs. The initial design was created by James Langenheim, of Pereira & Luckman, subsequently taken to fruition by a team of architects and engineers headed by William Pereira and Charles Luckman, that also included Paul Williams and Welton Becket.
The appearance of the building's signature crossed arches as homogeneous structures is a design illusion, created by topping four steel-reinforced concrete legs extending approximately 15 feet above the ground with hollow stucco-covered steel trusses. To counteract earthquake movements, the Theme Building was retrofitted in 2010 with a tuned mass damper without changing its outward appearance.
The original design for the airport created by Pereira & Luckman in 1959 had all the terminal buildings and parking structures connected to a huge glass dome, which would serve as a central hub for traffic circulation. The plan was eventually scaled down considerably, and the terminals were constructed elsewhere on the property. The Theme Building was subsequently built to mark the spot intended for the dome structure, as a reminder of the original plan. Initially, the restaurant on top rotated slowly, giving the visitors a 360-degree dining experience. However, it was later made stationary.
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LAX Theme Building reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
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Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • When travelling from LAX the Theme building is instantly recognisable and still looks space age and a great piece of architecture, worth locating for a viewing.  more »
  • every second Saturday of the month, you can access the viewing plateform on top of what used to be the restaurant. Great view of the landing aircrafts on 24 R. keep in mind that you will be behind a....  more »
Google
  • As a Former Executive Chef of this iconic Restaurant ...I'd like to say BRING BACK ENCOUNTER
  • Very interesting historical architecture building, with not so good directions to visit it

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