The Los Angeles That Was Never Built

Had these 13 grand architectural plans been executed, the city would look entirely different today

(Eric Lloyd Wright)

LAX Master Plan, by Pereira & Luckman

In 1952, the firm Pereira & Luckman drew the original master plan for the Los Angeles International Airport. The building had a giant glass dome at its center and six long terminals radiating from it. "It would be the grand entrance to Los Angeles," says Lubell.

But, the airport was not built by these specs—for a number of reasons. According to Lubell, L.A.'s Building Department thought the proposal was too radical, airlines did not want to share terminals and air conditioning the glass enclosure was challenging. "It is sort of like a terrarium," he says.

Instead, LAX’s iconic Theme Building, a mid-century modern structure topped with a restaurant and propped by two parabolas forming four legs, took the place of the dome. The airport’s nine terminals extend outward, like arms, from a horseshoe-shaped drive that bends around the Theme Building.


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