Theme Building Renovation-LAX

The LAX Theme Building received a renovation involving a new engineering design for the arch system. The old stucco was completely removed and reconstructed. The top half of the building was coated with newly designed moisture-, water-, and ice-proof stucco to protect against damage from the elements. Fans were integrated into each arch to keep the structure moisture-free by blowing air out of a centrally located vent on the pinnacle of the building. The renovation also involved shoring the building’s foundation, providing required Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades, and seismically upgrading various building elements (including the garden plaza screen wall).

The most significant part of the seismic retrofit was the unique installation of a Tuned Mass Damper (TMD) in the top core of the building. Comprised of nearly 600 tons of steel, this “structure within a structure” absorbs violent motion caused by earthquakes by counterbalancing with harmonic vibrations of its own. A TMD is typically installed at the base of a building. As one of the first of its kind in the United States, TMD installation at the top of the structure eliminated the need to widen the legs of the arches and allowed the Theme Building to maintain its original, historical structure and appearance.

CALTROP provided project management services for this nearly 50-year-old historic landmark.

LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
CLIENT: Los Angeles World Airports
PROJECT VALUE: $12.3 million


  • Historic Landmark
  • Redesigned Arch System
  • ADA Upgrades
  • Seismic Retrofit
  • TMD Installation


  • Project Management
  • Construction Administration
  • Specialty Inspection