LAX Theme Building – Structural Seismic & Wind Retrofit


Owner : Los Angeles World Airports
Contact : Millard Lee | | (323) 938-4422
Year Project Started : 2008
Year Project Constructed : 2009
Project Cost : $9.3M
Contract Amount : $681,529
Address : 1 World Way, Los Angeles, CA 90045
Client : Gin Wong Associates
4465 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90010

Project Description:

The symbolic heart of Los Angeles International Airport for nearly 50 years, the Theme Building is an elevated restaurant and lounge rising 135 feet above the parking area in the center of the terminals. The building’s distinctive form is characterized by a pair of graceful arches supporting the glazed, flying saucer-shaped restaurant. In recent years, deterioration of the cladding in the upper portion of the arches caused chunks of stucco to fall off the arches, thereby creating a hazard to pedestrians and forcing closure of the restaurant. As a result, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) deemed restoration of the Theme Building a high priority emergency project. A design for a new, more durable cladding system for the upper arches and around the saucer-like structure became an urgent necessity.

VCA’s Role:

VCA Engineers, Inc. oversaw structural engineering renovations of the Theme Building – a seismic evaluation of the overall structure was performed using field observations, information obtained from as-built drawings, and SAP modeling. VCA assisted in developing instrumentation and testing programs for the arches, performing gravity and wind load analysis from scaffolding, and creating six different finishing and bracing combinations for the upper arches. After these evaluations, VCA prepared a report to summarize conclusions from the tests, provided recommendations for future action, and also created electronic CAD backgrounds of the original structural drawings.

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