Grand Central Air Terminal


Location: Glendale, CA
Age/Built: Built 1928
Adaptive Reuse, Gruenstark (GS) Anchors, LEED Projects, Long-bore Dry Coring, Seismic Retrofit, Services, Stabilization of Historic Structures, Testing and Analysis

Project Background:

  • Grand Central Air Terminal (GCAT) or Grand Central Airport was the first official air terminal for Los Angeles
  • Several famous aviation pioneers made their mark at GCAT, including Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Howard Hughes, and William Boeing
  • With its close proximity to Hollywood’s studios of old as well as all manner of aircraft, GCAT was a magnet for big budget movies up to and including the 1940’s
  • Due to declining profitability, GCAT shuttered in 1959. It was later damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake
  • The Walt Disney Company purchased GCAT in 1997 and subsequently launched a major seismic retrofit project

Challenges Presented:

  • Due to multiple building campaigns enlarging the original terminal, a complex web of structural elements existed
  • Hidden, riveted steel leads coursed throughout the building and architectural flourishes adorned the exterior façade, necessitating an extremely cautious intervention
  • The renovation needed to address seismic concerns while avoiding unwanted changes to aesthetics

Services and Solutions:

  • Masonry Solutions worked with the project team to develop a comprehensive approach that utilized non-ferrous internal reinforcement of GCAT’s walls
  • First Masonry Solutions’ technicians drilled vertically through the exterior CMU and brick to allow for placement of the Gruenstark Masonry Fabric Anchor System
  • Masonry Solutions applied advanced long-bore dry coring tools and techniques, including use of the proprietary Romeo I Coring Equipment
  • Installation of Gruenstark fabric anchoring followed, with injection of Compatible Injected Fill, or CIF, to bond reinforcements to surrounding masonry units
  • This allowed the team to strengthen key points of the structure without precipitating needless intervention
  • Over 6800 linear ft. of Gruenstark fabric anchors were furnished and installed by MSI
  • Additionally, due to voided and weakened masonry, MSI injected MSI Flowable Fill , a cost-effective fill for large open cavities, throughout the majority of the building, bonding individual units together and providing rigidity. This material was customized through on-site and laboratory testing of GCAT's masonry components in order to develop a sypathetic and compatible enhancement
  • Masonry Solutions performed their work with caution to protect and enhance without negatively affecting any of the substantial architectural heritage present at GCAT
  • This seismic retrofit project allowed Grand Central Air Terminal’s historic visage to continue illuminating an era of aviation for future generations of visitors to come