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Modernizing a Regional Airport and Historic Terminal

Long Beach Airport Modernization
Long Beach, California, USA

“We have found a way to maintain and enhance the character of the Long Beach Cultural Heritage Landmark entrusted to us, while providing better customer service for our passengers and our airline partners.”

Mario Rodriguez
Director, Long Beach Airport

HOK led a 17-firm team that provided planning and design services for the rehabilitation and restoration of the airport’s historic 1941 terminal building.

Reported Architectural Record: “Inspired by Southern California’s mild climate, HOK’s solution interweaves secure indoor and outdoor spaces, keeping the airport experience relaxed, even resortlike, while, almost imperceptibly, meeting the constraints of budget, access controls and EIR-allowed square footage.”

The improvements enhance the terminal’s functionality while making the travel experience easier and more enjoyable for passengers.

The design preserves the historic Long Beach Airport terminal as an important part of the airport’s operations, with new structures appropriately scaled behind it. The landmark structure remains as the visual link between the landside and airside while serving as the main passenger circulation pathway for departing passengers. The symmetrical design of the airside garden area connects the north and south hold room buildings.

Anchored by the historic terminal, a new “meeters and greeters” plaza is enclosed by a new passenger screening checkpoint building and covered walkways.

“Set behind an Art Deco terminal dating from 1941 - by W. Horace Austin and Kenneth Wing, Sr. - is a range of crisp and cheerful new buildings by HOK that has brought this much-loved regional airport up to date without it losing its Bogart-Bacall-era Hollywood charm,” wrote the BBC’s Jonathan Glancey in naming the Long Beach Airport one of the world’s 10 most beautiful. 

The California Transportation Foundation gave the city of Long Beach its Aviation Project of the Year award for the new passenger terminal. “This award is validation of the hard work, ingenuity and planning that went into the airport’s new concourse and made it such a resounding success,” said Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster.

The airport ranked among the best in the U.S. in Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2014.


45,900 sq. ft. / 4,250 sq. m.
11 gates


Project Management
Terminal Programming


AIA Los Angeles – Design Awards, Citation

Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Award – Best U.S. Airport

Los Angeles Business Council – Los Angeles Architectural Award, Community Impact

League of California Cities – Helen Putnam Award for Excellence in Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation

California Transportation Foundation – Aviation Project of the Year

Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) Southern California Chapter – Project Achievement Award, Design Quality Industry Partner


15 November 2015
“American Institute of Architects Los Angeles Honors Two HOK-Designed Projects”
HOK News

3 October 2015
“Glamor Meets Convenience at Long Beach”

1 April 2015
“Modernization of Long Beach Airport Contributes to Regional Renaissance”
Airport Magazine

1 January 2015
“Comfort Zones”
Passenger Terminal World

24 November 2014

“Best U.S. Airports”
Conde Nast Traveler 

19 November 2014
“Long Beach Airport Recipient of Prestigious Helen Putnam Award For Excellence” 
City of Long Beach 

1 August 2014
“Let’s Fly Away: HOK’s New Passenger Concourses Recall the Relaxed Atmosphere of Early Air Travel.”
Architectural Record