Theme Building RestaurantTopic Building Restaurant
Pereira and Luckman Architects, renowned for their masters, as well as being known for their government and privately owned institutions, led both the initial and redesigned work. The themed building, finished in 1961, has a UFO-like restaurant hanging from two solid intersecting arched stucco-covered stainless stell walls in the middle.
The building is surrounded by a privacy barrier made of a deco-concrete block, giving it another modern feel from the middle of the 20th Century. This spidery theme building is frisky and imaginative, its self-confident departure from the neckings of the past signals Los Angeles' impetus from the middle of the 20th to be the next town. Recently, it has been comprehensively stabilized to secure its survival for coming generation and to commemorate prospective air travelers to the post-war world.
#TBT: The Airport Restaurant, created by Walt Disney Imagineering.
You' re at an aerodrome sometimes wondering, "What the hell is doing something like that at an aerodrome? "The legendary TWA Flight Center from 1962 at J.F.K. is a good example of this, especially as Eero Saarinen's listed building is in the process of being redesigned as a world-class resort.
L.A.X. has another such structur - the theme building. The building, which looks like a huge saucer in flight and was declared a symbol in 1993, was renovated for $4 million in the mid-1990s, with retrofuturistic interiors and electrical lights by Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) to prepare it for opening as a restaurant named Encounter in 1997.
Between 1961 and 1996 the Theme Hall (the principal area of the Theme Building) was a restaurant offering a wide range of menus: firstly, Viennese Schnitzel (for Austria) and Fondue Suisse A L'Alpine (for Switzerland), and from the mid-1980s further culinary delights such as red-nailed mussel mousses and saké pachsse.
Unfortunately, this didn't take long and finally the menue again turned into a tariff that was described as something from a Kettenhotel restaurant in the center of America and at best received moderate criticism in the Los Angeles Times. Although the exterior of the building was very futureistic, the inside was more "California Cold War" than anything else.
The themed room was shut down in 1996 after 35 years. L.A.X. was in the process of modernising all the restaurant facilities at the airports and the premises in the themed building were being renovated. Emboldened by Marty Sklar, who thought it was "the right thing to do" to refurbish the room, the drafts soon began at WDI.
In 1967 the Tomorrowland model was rebuilt. Spacetime has been incorporated into the overall experiential, and we have worked really hard to find ways to say this in every part of the work. There is a great 2009 contribution with pictures of Eddie Soto's meeting plan (as well as some WDI light expert Michael Valentino ideas) - click here to view!
Unfortunately, the link to the pictures in the articles has been gradually removed, but the writing is still intriguing. It was THE L.A. hotspot when Encounter first opened in 1997. There were two hours of waiting to get a dinner and John Travolta purchased the place and had a anniversary celebration there, there were casting and crew wrapping after the films were made.
The first 9/11 prompted T.S.A. and the big L.A.X. worms to shut the restaurant down for 6 month while deciding whether it was secure to have so many outside the security area for so long outside the security area while being so near the terminal. Obviously, the encounter was not as much loved at the reopening, but still profitably.
Then, in 2007, a piece of plaster came out of the building and had to be closed for 8 month while the security guards did their thing. Nearly immediately after reopening, the building had a scaffold around it for 2 years while it was upgraded in a seismic fashion. Actually, the restaurant was open all the while, but despite a plaque saying that, they didn't know and didn't leave.
In fact, we went another day, which was probably in the later 1990' or early 2000' (I can't find our images to verify it - I guess they still have to be digitized), and the meal was really good. Hill Jim Hill reported on his 2012 Encounter appointment about a year and a half before it was over.
You can find his descriptions and better than my photos of the restaurant here. Last but not least, there are a few YouTube video clips that show the restaurant doing justice: The encounter, once described as "The kind place George Jetson, James Bond and Barbarella could drink together", was open from 1997 to the end of 2013.
Inside the building is currently empty, although the observation level is open on Saturday and Sunday. So, the next times you're at L.A.X. and look at the themed building, keep in mind that Disney Imagineers was involved in what the inside was like. Crossing our thumbs, we are confident that another open air room will soon be reopened and that WDI's designs will be retained for the benefit of coming generation to see and appreciate.
No matter if you have already seen our articles or if this is the first occasion that you come by, we are really happy that you are here and are hoping that you will come back again!