Whenever I land at LAX in Los Angeles, I am welcomed by the familiar sight of the “Space Age-style” Theme Building. Built in 1960-61, the iconic structure was designated as an official Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument on December 18, 1993, just a couple of months after I moved to the city. Influenced by Populuxe architecture (a futuristic design style of the late 1950s and early 1960s often using pastel colors, synthetic materials, and stainless steel and evoking a sense of luxury), it is a stellar example of the Mid-Century modern design movement later to become known as Googie (a futurist architecture influenced by car culture, jets, the Space Age, and the Atomic Age that began in Southern California with the Streamline Moderne architecture of the 1930s, and was popular nationwide during the late 1940s into the mid-1960s)..
When I started researching more, I discovered that the original design for the airport created by Pereira & Luckman in 1959 connected all terminal buildings and parking structures to a huge glass dome that 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.
© Photo by Melissa Richardson Banks taken on August 6, 2017.