Fentress Architects Wins AIA|LA Building Team of the Year for Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX

Award honors the efforts of groups working together to make a significant contribution to the built environment of Los Angeles.

(Los Angeles, California) October 25, 2013 — The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Los Angeles chapter has recognized the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, designed by Fentress Architects, as the 2013 Presidential Honoree Building Team of the Year. The annual AIA Los Angeles Design Awards and Exhibit honors excellence in work by Los Angeles architects and is one of the most prestigious awards a designer can win in the Los Angeles design community.

Selected by the AIA Los Angeles Board of Directors, the Building Team of the Year Award acknowledges the efforts of a variety of entities successfully working together in the formation of a significant contribution to the built environment of Los Angeles. The collaboration must demonstrate success in both design and social impact and must be an inspiration for future collaborations that will enrich the architectural heritage of the city.

“In addition to Fentress Architects as the Design Architect, the project team for the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX included more than 40 consultants. Because of their years of contribution to this project and deep understanding of what it takes to build a project of this magnitude, the new Terminal truly embodies the character of Los Angeles and creates a remarkable sense of place. It is unmistakably LA,” said Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, principal-in-charge of design for the LAX modernization.

The modernized terminal is the largest public works project in the history of Los Angeles. It took more than 500,000 architectural man-hours to complete the project. Additionally, there were more than 550 contractors and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) personnel with over 9,900 workers logging nearly 6.5 million man-hours on the construction of the new terminal.

The design was 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 alongside the historical LAX Theme Building with its parabolic arches.

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 $1.9 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 modernized Tom Bradley International Terminal is a new gateway for LA,” said Fentress. “The architecture was inspired by the people and geography of LA, but the functionality was inspired by LA’s economic needs.”