LOS ANGELES—Phase one of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX was recently unveiled to the media and selected officials on June 20. Designed by Fentress Architects, the terminal is the largest public works project in the history of Los Angeles. Its roofline, inspired by the overlapping waves of the Pacific Ocean, creates a new architectural signature for LAX. Curtis W. Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, Chairman, and Founder of Fentress Architects, was a featured speaker at the event. A separate preview event for those who worked on the project and the general public will be held at LAX on Saturday, June 22.
Mayor Villaraigosa and other dignitaries accompanied Fentress as they toured the south concourse, which features new-generation aircraft gates on the West side of the terminal and the three-story, 150,000-sq.-ft. Great Hall that will offer premier dining, retail and duty-free shopping, and other passenger amenities. They also viewed one of the most advanced multimedia Integrated Environmental Media Systems (IEMS) at a North American airport, designed to create an unprecedented passenger experience and become a new revenue source for LAX.
“The new Tom Bradley International Terminal is a new gateway for LA,” says Fentress. “The architecture was inspired by the people and geography of LA, but the functionality was inspired by LA’s economic needs.”
In addition to reinventing the travel experience for passengers, the new Tom Bradley International Terminal is a vital economic engine for Los Angeles. According to U.S. Representative and former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, “Every daily round-trip overseas flight at LAX generates $623 million annually.” In addition to the revenue generated by overseas flights, 4,000 construction-related jobs were created during the project’s four-year construction schedule. Once the terminal officially begins operations later this summer, 2,000 permanent concessions-related jobs will be created.
The total cost of the project’s construction, architectural and engineering designs, permits, and related expenditures is $1.5 billion and remains within the forecast budget. No monies from the Los Angeles general fund were used. Instead, the project was funded from LAX’s operating revenue, capital improvement program funds, fees from airlines, and airport revenue bond proceeds.
The intent of Fentress Architects’ design of the new terminal is inspired by the Pacific Ocean, with a flowing roofline that recalls the rhythm of waves breaking on the beach. An open and spacious 100-foot-tall Great Hall suffused with natural daylight acknowledges Southern California’s temperate climate, while aluminum ceilings arch over the column-free structure. This design creates a single cohesive architectural theme that unifies the entire building, inside and out. The new terminal has already won several architectural design awards and is expected to become a new iconic structure for Los Angeles, joining the historical LAX Theme Building with its parabolic arches.
“The successful LAX of the 21st century will be a consummate host to the world, both seamlessly integrating into its context and embodying the spirit of Los Angeles in such a way that it becomes a new, modern landmark by which the region is recognized worldwide,” says architect Curt Fentress.
The new terminal is also designed to be a case study in highly-efficient and sustainable airport design. It's on track to achieve Silver Certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
LAX sets a new standard in sustainability for airports by integrating environmentally friendly concepts directly into the project’s aesthetic. Sunlight bathes the terminal’s open and spacious Great Hall, and reaches deep into interior leisure, retail, and dining spaces.
The design team also developed practices that minimize adverse environmental impacts from this project on surrounding areas, including a state-of-the-art and highly efficient mechanical system; the use of safe, non-toxic materials; water-efficient fixtures; and programs that encourage the use of alternative transportation to and from the airport. These efforts diverted a remarkable 75 percent of construction waste from local landfills and an estimated 48 percent reduction in water use.