Getting Pumped

Getting Pumped

Courtesy Los Angeles World Airports

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is about to get a lot bigger. According to a recently-closed Request for Proposals (RFP), the city of Los Angeles is preparing to build its largest new terminal at the airport in over 20 years. Several major firms have applied for the project, one of the first steps in the airport’s ambitious redevelopment plans. An architect should be chosen within one to two months, according to LAX officials. 

The new “Midfield Satellite Concourse,” located about a quarter mile west of the airport’s Tom Bradley International Terminal and at the location of a current hangar area, would measure 500,000 to 600,000 square feet. Cost estimates have not been released. According to an RFP issued last fall and closed to entrants on December 20, the new terminal would stand about 140 feet wide, 700 to 1,000 feet long, and three to four levels high. 

The new terminal would be able to accommodate eight to nine Airbus A-380 aircraft gates, and would be connected to Tom Bradley via a 1,400-foot-long underground pedestrian tunnel. That tunnel would either include moving walkways, a people mover system, or both. The plans also call for a 100,000-square-foot, 80-foot-wide and 540-foot-long expansion of the Tom Bradley terminal, allowing for new gates along its west side. The RFP also says the building would aim for a LEED Silver rating. 

LAX officials have not disclosed which architecture firms applied for the project, but according to one applicant, the competition includes Santiago Calatrava with Gensler Architects; Foster and Partners with Leo Daly Architects and the Smith Group; Fentress Architects with HNTB; and Johnson Fain with HKS. DMJM Aviation was awarded $25 million on March 3 to be the project’s contractor. 

The airport’s last major expansion came in 1984, with the opening of the Bradley terminal and domestic Terminal 1. The current expansion is a major step for the LAX Master Plan, released in 2005. The massive $5 to 8 billion plan also calls for new gates, taxiways, parking structures, a new ground transportation center, an intermodal transportation center to connect to public transit, and even a new Central Terminal Area that will replace the airport’s existing parking structures. 

Last February, work began on the $723.5 million modernization of the Tom Bradley Terminal, led by Leo Daly Architects. That project, which the airport calls the largest individual project in city history, includes interior renovations (including an updated look and new furniture, lounges, and amenities), new LEED certified building systems, installation of an in-line checked-baggage security system, and a second boarding gate for extra-large planes. Work should complete by March 2010. 

Meanwhile, this February the city approved the building permit for restoration of the airport’s iconic white-arched Theme Building. The 1961 building designed by Paul R. Williams had deteriorated significantly. The work, led by LA-based Gin Wong Associates, will include reinforcing the structure’s core, adding new lateral bracing for its upper arches, repainting its exterior, replacing its plaster cladding, and seismic upgrades. That project is scheduled to be done in May 2009.