The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Sunday, March 29, 2015

Restored Theme Building Marks Los Angeles International Airport's Turnaround
Bathed in blue light from an illuminated wall, not shown, arriving international passengers pass under a large "halo" of light in the area where they meet friends and family, at the newly-renovated customs clearance area at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport Friday, May 28, 2010. AP Photo/Reed Saxon.

By: Daisy Nguyen, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP).- Believe it or not, LAX and its iconic spider-shaped terminal were once young and vibrant, a futuristic outpost at the edge of the Pacific in the glamorous Jet Age.

After a half-century and millions of travelers, Los Angeles International Airport is on the verge of reclaiming some of its lost luster and gaining a touch of the 21st century — a renovated landmark terminal, shorter check-in times and better restaurants.

"We haven't given them an experience worthy of a first-class city," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said recently,

Painters are putting the finishing touches on the Theme Building's soaring arches, which were shrouded in scaffolding for three years after a 1,000-pound chunk of stucco fell onto the roof of the flying-saucer-shaped Encounter restaurant below.

The $9 million project to restore and strengthen the structure is one of several projects under way here.

For passengers, the renovations are a long time coming. They ranked LAX, the world's sixth-busiest airport, near the bottom in a recent survey of U.S. airports, citing crowded old terminals and poor food and retail options.

"This used to look like a Third World airport," said Steve Judge, after returning from a trip to Mexico.

The city airport department poured in $737 million to upgrade the Tom Bradley International Terminal, which processed 8 million passengers last year but hadn't had a major overhaul since it opened for the 1984 Olympics.

The changes were sorely needed for a terminal that still buses passengers from the tarmac due to a shortage of gates.

Improvements include a high-tech baggage screening system to eliminate long lines at check-in, new boarding gates to accommodate the next generation of bigger jumbo jets, more efficient baggage carousels, new flooring and art installations.

Upgrades were also made to the food court and arrival area. Instead of walking out of customs to a dimly lit lobby, visitors are greeted by translucent walls that change color. A glowing halo hanging from the ceiling welcomes travelers to the City of Angels.

"It's friendlier, more airy, more spacious, brighter," said Claudia Braendle of the renovated terminal, as she waited for a flight home to Zurich, Switzerland. "The check-in process is more efficient."

The renovation is the first step toward a grander, $1.5 billion construction project to expand the international terminal by a million square feet. The project is so huge that airport planners will have to tear down $100 million worth of recently renovated gates for it.

Airport officials said the two projects were planned separately, and the gate renovations were under way when the expansion project was approved. An engineering analysis found it would be cheaper to demolish the gates and rebuild them farther out than to make additional retrofits and seismic upgrades, said Roger Johnson, executive director for airport development.

Meanwhile, officials are considering new bids to replace some of the fast-food restaurants at domestic terminals with fare from some of the city's most popular restaurants. They include coffee from the hip LAMILL cafe, Korean barbecue, tacos from the chefs behind the Border Grill restaurants and Italian snacks from chef Nancy Silverton.

Silverton, who started La Brea Bakery, Campanile and Mozza Pizzeria, said she never eats at LAX because of the dismal food options.

"LA isn't represented in any of the terminals and that's a shame because we have a lot to offer," she said. "When visitors are in LA, whether they're coming or about to leave, their first and last impression of the city is at the airport."

Completion of the Theme Building's face-lift should help. The building opened in 1961, when air travel quickly became part of the identity of the burgeoning Pacific Rim metropolis.

The Encounter restaurant serves as a reminder of that period. The elevator ride up to Encounter starts with the theme from the original "Star Trek" television series; Disney "Imagineers" designed the restaurant's retro interior.

The observation deck above, which was a popular hangout for aviation buffs before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks forced its closure, will soon reopen, with weekend hours and new security measures, an airport spokeswoman said.

"The Theme Building truly is an icon of Los Angeles," said Linda Dishman, executive director of Los Angeles Conservancy, a historic preservation group. "It symbolizes the promise and futurism of the Jet Age, as well as L.A.'s emergence as a world city in the 1960s."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Los Angeles International Airport | Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa | Linda Dishman | The Theme Building |

Today's News

June 6, 2010

"Klee Meets Picasso" Exhibition Confronts Themes and Techniques at Zentrum Paul Klee

Restored Theme Building Marks Los Angeles International Airport's Turnaround

Philbrook Hosts Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum

Saint Louis Art Museum Reaches Six-Month Milestones on Expansion

Inaugural Exhibition Showcases New Acquisitions in Israel Museum Collection

Ben Weiner's Second Solo Exhibition in Los Angeles Opens at Mark Moore Gallery

Major New Book, "Lee Friedlander: America by Car", Announced

World-Renowned Sculptors Unite to Honor Major Philanthropists

Storm King Art Center Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Two Exhibitions

Solo Exhibition of New Work by Lothar Hempel at Stuart Shave/Modern Art

Pousette-Dart: Predominantly White Paintings at the Phillips Collection

Alexander McQueen Dresses from Salem Witch Trials to Sell at Bonhams

Retrospective of Charles M. Russell Opens at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum of Contemporary Art Opens "Here Not There: San Diego Art Now"

Norton Museum of Art Presents "Dinotopia: The Fantastical Art of James Gurney"

Ground Breaking Faraday Lecture Notes for Sale at Bonhams

100 Years of Fashion on View at the National Gallery of Victoria

Juried Display of Art by NYC Public School Students on View at the Metropolitan

Royal Ontario Museum Announces New Accessibility Programs

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Alan Bean's Apollo 12 space memorabilia for auction at Bonhams' annual Space History sale

2.- Former electrician who hid 271 Picasso works found guilty of possessing stolen goods

3.- Museo del Prado brings together for the first time four masterpieces by Van der Weyden

4.- Study by Mexican anthropologist says elites' clash led to Teotihuacan collapse

5.- Classical realist painter Jenness Cortez re-imagines Leonardo's 'Mona Lisa'

6.- National Gallery of Art reunites Rubens' Three Magi for the first time in a century

7.- Adolf Hitler 1912 watercolor still life painting to be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions

8.- Curator at Croatia's Natural History Museum finds Neanderthals were world's first jewellers

9.- 17 tourists killed and 42 wounded as gunmen attack Tunisia's National Bardo Museum

10.- Anish Kapoor presents a series of giant and wildly expressive resin and silicon works

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site