Long Beach Airport Honored (Again) for Its Now-Iconic Terminal

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With great design comes great accolades: shortly after receiving the California Transportation Foundation’s Aviation Project of the Year, being noted as one of the most beautiful airports in the world, as well as a plethora of other recognitions, the Long Beach Airport (LGB)’s re-designed airport terminal was honored by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) last night.

Anyone who has visited LGB’s terminal understands the hype: the two intersecting, open-air concourses evoke everything about the Long Beach lifestyle. Brilliantly 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 (y’know, the crew leading that tiny project known as the MyFigueroa project in LA and the Bixby Park re-design).

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 is a nostalgic nod toward the days when wooden piers and boardwalks dominated the Long Beach social scene (and also reminds locals of what The Pike used to be).

“Accommodating functional requirements such as safety, security and circulation, while maintaining an inviting sense of human-scale, was the general design approach for the landscape upgrades,” LGB wrote in their submission to ASLA. “The new outdoor areas were articulated to relax weary travelers, and to make a positive impact on users. Space required for efficient pedestrian circulation was buffered from space required for sedentary purposes to minimize conflict of use, large expanses of required paving were patterned to relieve monotony, and an engaging relationship between landscape and hardscape was created to unify the space and enhance interest. Plant selection, together with appropriate plant layout and efficient irrigation-delivery systems, addressed water conservation considerations, while strengthening the experiential narrative.”

Jurors for the awards included, Denise Ashton, Planner at WHA Architects; Lynn Capouya, Landscape Architect at Lynn Capouya Landscape Architects; Dave Watts, Assistant Professor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; John Leehy, Director of Planning at Danielian Architecture; Chuck DeGarmo, Valley Crest Landscape Development; Ron Running, City of Hemet; and Mark Steyaert, Principal at MSLA.

The airport was honored in a program entitled “Design for Generations” and featured architect Eric Lloyd Wright at The Ebell Club, located at 290 Cerritos Ave. 

This article originally appeared on the Long Beach Post.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.