Don’t look now, but LAX—the airport everyone loves to hate—is starting to complete its major makeover. The biggest change is the brand new $1.9 billion (yes, billion) addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal, designed by Fentress Architects and unveiled in 2008. Its curving roofline, emulating waves breaking on the nearby beach, pops up behind the original Tom Bradley structure, which itself was recently renovated (for the cost of $723 million) by Leo A Daly.
OMA announced on Friday that it will design a master plan for Airport City, an ambitious 3.9-square-mile project that will link the new Hamad International Airport with Doha, Qatar. Recalling the ideas put forth last year by John D. Kasarda and Greg Lindsay in Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next, OMA’s enterprising piece of urbanism will incorporate four distinct districts along a green axis of public spaces parallel to the airport’s runways to create a functionally differentiated but continuous urban system. Residential, business, aviation, and logistics districts will be tied together in a new type of 21st century transit oriented development.
It looks like things at long-maligned LAX are looking up. First AN reported that AECOM is working on a big makeover of the airport’s roadway spaces and that Fentress Architects is completing a new Tom Bradley Satellite Terminal. Now we’ve gotten our hands on a secret shortlist for LAX Terminal 4 Connector, the next component of the airport’s international spaces. And the finalists are… Corgan (with Turner) and Gensler (with Hensel Phelps). Now if only they could get the subway to go there, LAX might actually become a world-class airport!
The days of airport as shopping and entertainment destination are in full swing. Construction of the new 40,000 square foot passenger concourse at the Long Beach Municipal Airport (LGB) will be finished next month. And this is no ordinary concourse. As part of a $140 million modernization project, the two-year renovation not only includes waiting and screening areas, but also two new terminals with 10,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space along with 4,200 square feet of outdoor patio seating containing fire pits, cabanas, and outdoor performance areas.
No one understood airports quite like Eero Saarinen. His swooping Dulles International Airport turned 50 over the weekend and its uplifting form is still inspiring today. Saarinen was quite proud of it, too, declaring the building “the best thing I have ever done.” The control tower and main terminal building at Dulles opened on November 17, 1962, formally dedicated by President John F. Kennedy. The airport was named for Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. Also, if you’re in Los Angeles, be sure to check out the A+D Architecture and Design Museum’s exhibition on Saarinen, now up through January 3rd.
The airline industry was hit hard by the recession—2011 had fewer takeoffs than any year since 2002. Airports in cities like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Oakland are feeling the effects of that contraction, leaving one-time regional hubs and smaller airports with vacant and underused terminals.
A report on airport building reuse commissioned last year by the Transportation Research Board found enplanements were down more than 60 percent in St. Louis over the last decade. Growing interest in regional rail transit could place further pressure on smaller airports to get creative with their extra space, especially as they face costly demolition bills and shrinking revenue.
Terminal 6 has been on Death’s Row at least since June 2010. So why are so many aflutter now? It’s an old adage but a persistent one: It hasn’t happened until the New York Times reports it, or until there’s a television tie-in as newsworthy as the cheesy jet set-orama, “Pan Am” on ABC.
A small, twisting airport in Mestia, a medieval town in the Democratic Republic of Georgia manages to capture the essence of the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s ancient stone defensive towers while still standing on its own as a skyward-reaching modern structure.