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April 20, 2010 Mid-Century Modern

Modern Snapshot: LAX’s 1961 Theme Building

Here’s a little taste of West Coast mid-century modernism. The New York Times reported the other day that the effort to repair and stabilize the  iconic 1961 Theme Building at LAX is nearly complete after three years and more than $12 million. The space-agey, flying saucer-like structure was designed by William Pereira, Charles Luckman Associates, Welton Becket & Associates and Paul R. Williams. The initial design was done by James Langenheim. When I was out there last June, the buildings white, spider-like legs were it still shrouded by scaffolding. However, the Encounter restaurant at the top has remained open during the work, so I had a chance to have a quick dinner and take some pictures before my flight back to D.C.

The entranceway of the Theme Building has wood walls, terrazzo floors and plenty of glass.

The star-burst pattern in the terrazzo floors.

A view from inside the Encounter.

The dark, left side is the restaurant; the right is the kitchen.