LAX Terminal Curbside Appeal Project (Codename Light Ribbon)
Los Angeles, CA United States | 2016
Los Angeles International (LAX) Airport is the 3rd busiest airport in the world with 87.5 million travelers arriving at or departing from the airport last year. Since 2000, visitors to LAX have been welcomed by towering, lighted pylons capable of displaying more than 16 million colors. The pylons have stood strong for nearly 20 years due to the protective qualities of hot-dip galvanizing.
The lighting and glass on the pylons need constant attention and replacement due to the high concentration of atmospheric moisture that gets trapped inside, but the hot-dip galvanized steel never requires any attention at all - it is as corrosion free as the day it was installed.
The original design concept called for 11 illuminated pylons, 6 feet in diameter ranging from 25 to 60 feet high stretching down Century Boulevard. An additional 15 illuminated pylons, 12 feet in diameter and 100 feet high, were designed for the intersection entrance to the airport. The entire design would create a beautiful and welcoming gateway of animated light blended with motion, visible when arriving or leaving the airport.
Every tower is internally illuminated and operates at 277V from the street lighting power grid. In order to operate the control electronics in each pylon, a step-down transformer is used to reduce voltage to 120V to the electronics. The pylons are all capable of changing colors remotely with 1,000’s of different color combinations available via the use of advanced color changing luminaries, known not only for their even color distribution and compact size but also for limited daily power requirements.
The internal structure of the glass pylon was designed and fabricated using large interconnecting fabricated tube steel frames and various size tube steel bracing with angle ladders. Then, the steel was hot-dip galvanized prior to installation providing much needed corrosion protection for the carbon steel that is installed near the Pacific Ocean.
Though a magnificent backdrop for the airport, it also brings with it a corrosive sea salt air environment that is damaging to unprotected carbon steel and; therefore, hot-dip galvanizing is the perfect application to protect the intricate underlying steel framework in this type of moisture rich environment. The glass façade around the hot-dip galvanized tube steel structure is opaque to assure that from the outside only minimal internal structure shadows are visible when the pylons are fully illuminated.
Bob Haines, Airport Maintenance Superintendent, Facilities and Technical Services Division stated, “The lighting and glass on the pylons need constant attention and replacement due to the high concentration of atmospheric moisture that gets trapped inside of the glass pylons but the hot-dip galvanized steel never requires any attention at all, as a matter of fact, it is as solid and corrosion free as the day it was installed”…an insider’s enlightened statement and a true testament to the faith we have in this coating.
It is always amazing to witness the wide array of projects that call for hot-dip galvanizing’s metallurgical bond to protect carbon steel fabrications from the harsh and unforgiving environments in which they are located. Hot-dip galvanizing is once again the unsung hero of another high-profile project that will be viewed and enjoyed by millions of travelers at The Los Angeles International Airport for many decades to come.
The Facility and Technical Service Division is responsible for the daily control and operation of the pylons and they frequently speak with pride and admiration about how the tube steel framing is corrosion free more than 19 years after being constructed. The structural integrity is provided by the amazing cathodic protection of hot-dip galvanizing, ensuring low maintenance safety and efficient performance for years to come.
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Los Angeles, CA United States
Aesthetics, Coating Durability, Corrosion Performance, Initial Cost, Life-Cycle Cost, Prior HDG Experience, Quality of HDG, Sustainability, Turnaround Time
Fabricated tube steel frames, Straight tube steel bracing, Angle ladders
Coast Iron & Steel
Nadel Architects, Inc.
L.A. World Airports
Valmont Coatings - Calwest Galvanizing
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