updated 10/14/2010 7:46:31 PM ET 2010-10-14T23:46:31

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 14, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The $12.3-million renovation completed last June on the iconic Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has received two prestigious awards from the California Preservation Foundation (CPF). The organization's Preservation Design Award for Preservation Technology recognizes projects that sustain the original form and extent of a structure while aiming to halt further deterioration through structural stability with a minimum of rebuilding, restoration, or rehabilitation. 

The project also garnered the CPF's Trustees Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation. This award is entirely at the discretion of the board and is only awarded if a project is deemed to be of very high importance to California architecture or history. The CFP Board noted the Theme Building as a great monument to mid-century design.

The awards will be presented Saturday, October 16, 2010, during the 27th Annual Preservation Design Awards ceremony at the Getty Villa.

The California Preservation Foundation is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving California's diverse cultural and architectural heritage by providing preservation-related assistance, education and advocacy. 

The Theme Building, a nearly 50-year-old cultural and historic landmark in the center of LAX's passenger terminal area, began a three-year renovation in February 2007, after a 1,000-pound, 5-foot-by-10-foot panel of the stucco "skin" fell off the underside of the east upper arch. Following removal/demolition of all of the stucco, the renovation included a unique seismic retrofit, reconstruction of the facade of the upper and lower arches, and accessibility upgrades for visitors with disabilities.

"The innovative design of the project allowed us to maintain the original look and feel of the building and helped us preserve a landmark building for the future enjoyment of city residents and visitors and travelers at LAX," said Deputy Executive Director David Shuter.

The seismic retrofit involved installing a rooftop tuned mass damper (TMD) containing 600 tons of steel (equivalent to the weight of two Boeing 747s) added to the top core. The TMD will absorb violent motion caused by an earthquake by counterbalancing with harmonic vibrations of its own. Installing the steel weight at the top of the building allowed the original, historic look of the building to be preserved. The first of its kind in the United States, this innovative installation of the TMD was considered the most difficult and intricate part of the restoration project. 

"This was one of the most extraordinary challenges that we have ever faced. We could not touch the exterior or interior of this historic building, but we had to increase the earthquake capacity of the structure. High-Performance Earthquake Engineering helped achieve these seemingly impossible objectives," says Kit Miyamoto, Ph.D., CEO of Miyamoto International, the firm that provided the seismic engineering design for the project.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the seventh busiest airport in the world, offering more than 565 daily flights to 81 destinations in the U.S. and over 1,000 weekly nonstop flights to 65 international destinations on over 75 carriers.  LAX is part of a system of three Southern California airports – along with LA/Ontario International and Van Nuys general aviation – that are owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), a department of the City of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles World Airports logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=7299

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