CRE N Illinois

Public insight sought on newly unveiled O’Hare terminal designs

The design by Studio Gang, Solomon Cordwell Buenz, STL Architects, Corgan Associates and Milhouse Engineering and Construction. The design by Studio Gang, Solomon Cordwell Buenz, STL Architects, Corgan Associates and Milhouse Engineering and Construction.
The design by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The design by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
The design by Foster + Partners, Epstein and JGMA. The design by Foster + Partners, Epstein and JGMA.
The design from Santiago Calatrava, LLC. The design from Santiago Calatrava, LLC.
The design from Fentress Architects, Brook Architecture, EXP and Garza Karhoff Engineering. The design from Fentress Architects, Brook Architecture, EXP and Garza Karhoff Engineering.

The cloak of secrecy surrounding the international competition to develop a new Global Terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport was lifted yesterday as the city of Chicago revealed five design concepts for the large-scale, $8.5 billion project.

The new, 2.5-million-square-foot terminal will replace the airport’s busy Terminal 2. Handling domestic and international flights, it will also be one of the largest terminals ever built in the U.S. when completed in 2028.

Out of 12 teams that responded to a request for qualifications, five designs made the short list. Now, the city of Chicago is asking its residents to vote on how O’Hare—one of the world’s busiest airports—will appear to travelers in the future.

“As the city that makes no little plans, Chicago is taking a bold step forward to choose the architect team that will set the course for O’Hare’s biggest transformation yet,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This design competition celebrates our tradition of innovation and world-leading architectural history. As we move forward with the O’Hare expansion, we invite our residents and travelers to weigh in on one of the largest terminals in the country.”

The five proposing teams are: a joint venture of Fentress Architects, Brook Architecture, EXP and Garza Karhoff Engineering; a joint venture of London-based Foster + Partners along with Chicago firms Epstein and JGMA; the firm of Spanish starchitect Santiago Calatrava; Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill and a joint venture of Studio Gang, Solomon Cordwell Buenz, STL Architects, Corgan Associates and Milhouse Engineering and Construction.

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) launched a search for a lead architect in June 2018. The City's intention is to select two design teams: one to design the O'Hare Global Terminal and Concourse and another to design two new satellite concourses.

“The new O'Hare Global Terminal is at the center of our plans to transform O’Hare from curb to gate,” said Jamie L. Rhee, commissioner of CDA. “The new O’Hare Global Terminal represents an opportunity not only for O’Hare and its airline partners to grow, but also will fuel new opportunities for residents and businesses from our 77 communities. We are thrilled to engage the public now in the first of many public feedback opportunities as we embark on our expansion program.”

Residents and the traveling public can view the new terminal designs, and share their feedback at a special exhibit in O'Hare’s Terminal 2 or online at www.VoteORD21.com. The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC), located on 111 E. Upper Wacker Drive, is also hosting a pop-up exhibit featuring architectural models for visitors to experience and vote on. The physical models will be up at both locations through January 31, though the public feedback period ends January 23.

"The Chicago Architecture Center is proud to host the designs that will set the trajectory of O'Hare for years to come," said Lynn Osmond, president and CEO of the CAC. "All Chicagoans have a stake in O'Hare, as a vital economic engine and an exciting gateway to our city—a place where iconic architecture reflects Chicago's rich legacy of design innovation. The CAC, Chicago's home for debating design, is thrilled to help Chicagoans have their say on this next great initiative for our city."