With great design comes great praise as the accolades the Long Beach Airport continues to receive seem endless: The readers of USA Today have named the airport one of the nation’s 10 best, an accolade the readers have provided the airport before.
Sitting at the No. 10 spot—Huntsville International Airport in Alabama received the top honor; for the full list, click here—USA Today described the local airport as follows:
“Long Beach Airport is a favorite in the LA area. It’s on I-405 for easy access, just four miles from the beach and has only a single, easy-to-navigate terminal served by American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue and Southwest. It’s a great alternative to LAX for those visiting Orange County or flying to Honolulu.”
This honor joins the airport’s multiple recognitions from Condé Naste, being awarded California Transportation Foundation’s Aviation Project of the Year in 2013, being noted as one of the most beautiful airports in the world by the BBC in 2014, honored by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) in 2014, as well as an assortment of other recognition.
The airport’s open-air concourse evokes everything about the Long Beach lifestyle. Intelligently thought out, the space is more like an escape than home to an in-and-out for busy travelers and aircrafts—and that is partly thanks to its landscape design from Meléndrez (now known as RELM, they’re the crew leading that tiny project known as the MyFigueroa project in LA and led the the Bixby Park re-design several years back).
Take, for example, its use of native plants: The giant beds of agaves are, according to the landscape architect’s proposal, reflective of the sea while the California fan palms recall the iconic skyline of coastal esplanades. Even its spots of lush greenery is meant to evoke the wetlands. Or take the furniture. Wooden benches resemble palettes of stacked lumber, designed to remind travelers of the cargo transported at the city’s coastal dockyards. And the wooden walkway that connects the two concourses? It’s a nostalgic nod toward the days when plank piers and boardwalks dominated the Long Beach social scene (and also reminds locals of what the Pike used to be).
Editor’s note: This article originally stated the Huntsville airport was located in Alaska; it is located in Alabama.
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