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Theme Building

Theme Building

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The Theme Building is a landmark
This is a list of landmarks around the world.Landmarks may be split into two categories - natural phenomena and man-made features, like buildings, bridges, statues, public squares and so forth...

 structure at the Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport is the primary airport serving the Greater Los Angeles Area, the second-most populated metropolitan area in the United States. It is most often referred to by its IATA airport code LAX, with the letters pronounced individually...

 within the Westchester
Westchester, Los Angeles, California
Westchester is a suburban neighborhood in western Los Angeles, California, United States. It is home to Los Angeles International Airport , Loyola Marymount University , and Otis College of Art and Design.-Geography:...

 neighborhood of the city of Los Angeles. It opened in 1961, and is an example of the Mid-Century modern
Mid-century modern
Mid-Century modern is an architectural, interior and product design form that generally describes mid-20th century developments in modern design, architecture, and urban development from roughly 1933 to 1965...

 influenced design school known as "Googie
Googie architecture
Googie architecture is a form of modern architecture, a subdivision of futurist architecture influenced by car culture and the Space and Atomic Ages....

" or "Populuxe
Googie architecture
Googie architecture is a form of modern architecture, a subdivision of futurist architecture influenced by car culture and the Space and Atomic Ages....


The distinctive white building resembles a flying saucer
Unidentified flying object
A term originally coined by the military, an unidentified flying object is an unusual apparent anomaly in the sky that is not readily identifiable to the observer as any known object...

 that has landed on its four legs. It was designed by a team of architects and engineers headed by William Pereira
William Pereira
William Leonard Pereira was an American architect from Chicago, Illinois, of Portuguese ancestry who was noted for his futuristic designs of landmark buildings such as the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco...

 and Charles Luckman
Charles Luckman
Charles Luckman was a businessman and an American architect, famous as the "Boy Wonder of American Business" when he was named president of the Pepsodent toothpaste company in 1939 at the age of thirty...

, that also included Paul Williams
Paul Williams (architect)
Paul Revere Williams, FAIA was a Los Angeles-based, American architect. He practiced largely in Southern California and designed the homes of numerous stars including Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz, Lon Chaney, and Charles Correll...

 and Welton Becket
Welton Becket
Welton Becket was an architect who designed many buildings in Los Angeles, California.Becket was born in Seattle, Washington and graduated from the University of Washington program in Architecture in 1927 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree .He settled in Los Angeles in 1933 and formed a...

. The initial design of the building was created by James Langenheim, of the Pereira-Luckman firm.

The Los Angeles City Council designated the building a cultural and historical monument (no.570) in 1992. A $4 million renovation, with retro-futuristic
Retro-futurism is a trend in the creative arts showing the influence of depictions of the future produced prior to about 1960...

 interior and electric lighting designed by Walt Disney Imagineering
Walt Disney Imagineering
Walt Disney Imagineering is the design and development arm of the Walt Disney Company, responsible for the creation and construction of Disney theme parks worldwide...

, was completed before the "Encounter Restaurant" opened there in 1997. At one time, tourists and passengers were able to take the elevator up to the Observation Level of the "Theme Building", but after the September 11 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

, the Observation Level was closed for security reasons. Following a $12.3 million restoration of the building completed in 2010, the observation level began opening to the public on weekends starting July 10.

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 is now stationary.

The appearance of the building as a single homogenous structure is a cleverly constructed illusion. The building's two crossed arches actually consist of four steel-reinforced concrete legs that extend approximately 15' above the ground, and a hollow, stucco
Stucco or render is a material made of an aggregate, a binder, and water. Stucco is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid. It is used as decorative coating for walls and ceilings and as a sculptural and artistic material in architecture...

-covered steel truss constituting the remaining lower arches and entire upper arches. To avoid changing the appearance of the structure with overt reinforcement, the Theme Building was retrofitted with a tuned mass damper
Tuned mass damper
A tuned mass damper, also known as an active mass damper or harmonic absorber, is a device mounted in structures to reduce the amplitude of mechanical vibrations. Their application can prevent discomfort, damage, or outright structural failure...

 to counteract earthquake movements.

The Encounter Restaurant was closed in March 2007 for repairs after a half-ton piece of the stucco skin on the upper arches crashed onto the roof of the restaurant, and reopened on November 12, 2007. Delaware North Companies
Delaware North Companies
Delaware North Companies is a global food service and hospitality company headquartered in Buffalo, New York The company operates in the lodging, sporting, airport, gaming and entertainment industries. The company employs over 50,000 people worldwide and has over $2 billion in annual revenues...

Travel Hospitality Services operates the restaurant. It is in a pre-security area of the airport.http://www.encounterlax.com/encounter_genesis.html#history

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