Unbuilt Los Angeles: The Original LAX Terminal


The most recognizable structure of Los Angeles International Airport — indeed, perhaps of Los Angels altogether — is the Googie-style Theme Building, resembling a flying saucer. It for years housed a restaurant with 360-degree views of the airport.

In the original design, which was made by the firm Pereira and Luckman, the site of the Theme Building would have been occupied by an enormous glass dome connecting all the terminals, which are now separate. It was rejected by the Los Angeles Building Department, which thought the plan too radical and worried that the cost of air conditioning the dome might be be exorbitant.

Also, the airlines wanted their own terminals — no matter the inconvenience to travelers changing flights at LAX.

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