CRE N Illinois

First look at HOK's O'Hare Airport expansion

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HOK and Muller & Muller, Ltd., along with the Chicago Department of Aviation, are leading the design of more than 300,000 square feet of new space in Terminal 5. This will be the terminal’s first major expansion since it opened in 1993 and will allow O’Hare to comfortably welcome an increasing number of travelers.

The expansion and renovation of Terminal 5 is the first phase and a key component of the O’Hare 21 program, an effort by the City of Chicago and the airlines to modernize one of the world’s most-traveled airports. It will increase the terminal’s capacity by 25 percent, adding new gates and upgrading existing gate sizes to accommodate the larger aircraft used for international flights.

Opening up Terminal 5 to amenities provided in other areas of O’Hare, improving airline clubs, enhancing shopping and dining space and designing a clear wayfinding system will create a more comfortable experience for passengers. The project also is adding four new security lanes to the checkpoint and improving immigration facilities. The 25-year-old baggage handling system will be fully modernized by 2022.

The design will future-proof gates to accommodate new and next-generation aircraft, as well as smaller domestic jets. Though the gates will serve wide-body aircraft, they will be easily convertible to narrow-body positions as the terminal is repurposed in the future.

This project is separate from the $8.5 billion project, led by Studio Gang, that will replace the airport’s busy Terminal 2 with a new, 2.2-million-square-foot terminal.