beat out the likes of Santiago Calatrava; Norman Foster; and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to win the $8.5 billion project.
Set to break ground in 2023, the project will add a 2.2 million-square-foot Global Terminal and Concourse—at a cost of $2.2 billion. The designers laid out the terminal as a Y
shape. This will not only maximize runway adjacency, but it also references Chicago’s identity. When seen from above, the shape resembles Chicago’s official symbol, the Y
shape of the Chicago River.
“As a native Chicagoan, I understand deeply the importance of O’Hare to our city’s identity,” said Gang in a statement.
The City will now enter into contract negotiations with Studio ORD. Upon contract award, Studio ORD will work with the City of Chicago and the airlines to design the new Global Terminal and Concourse. In the coming months, a second team will be selected from the remaining four finalists to design two new satellite concourses to be built west of Terminal 1.
This unprecedented expansion will elevate the travel experience for more than 83 million passengers relying upon O’Hare each year, and will create tens of thousands of jobs for the community. The expansion will be paid for by airport revenues, not taxpayer dollars.
'The City of Chicago called upon teams from across the city and around the world to lead O’Hare’s historic expansion, and Studio ORD answered that call,' said Mayor Emanuel. 'During this historic competition, the world’s best architecture firms submitted their incredible visions for the world to see—with each of these five world-class designs strengthening our plans to bring O’Hare into the 21st century. Today we congratulate Studio ORD who has proven they have the experience, expertise, and the talent needed to work with the City of Chicago as we usher in a new era at O’Hare.'
Smoothly bending to increase efficiency, wayfinding, and connectivity, the tripartite design merges terminal and concourse into a single building that is uniquely evocative of the city of Chicago. At the branches’ confluence, a dramatic Oculus welcomes visitors under a six-pointed glass skylight whose geometry references the Chicago flag.
Surrounding the Oculus is a rhythmic, pleated roof of long-span steel trusses. Clad in wood and emphasizing the building’s curving form, the pleats are spaced and oriented to maximize natural daylight and energy efficiency. From inside, their directionality gently guides passengers through the space. When seen from above, the building’s form greets passengers with an easily recognizable, distinctly Chicago icon: the city’s “Y symbol,” or Municipal Device, that represents the branching Chicago River.