Two months after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Aviation unveiled the five shortlisted teams for O'Hare International Airport's $8.5 billion terminal expansion, the winning design has been announced. The City has selected Studio ORD—a joint venture between Studio Gang Architects, Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates, STL Architects, Corgan Associates and Milhouse Engineering and Construction—to carry out their collective vision.
The 2.2-million-square-foot new O'Hare Global Terminal will feature more than double the space of the current Terminal 2, which will be replaced by a Y-shaped building that merges the terminal and concourse spaces under one roof. Studio ORD says the pronged design is a reference to the confluence of the Chicago River's three branches.
The centre of the roof will feature a six-pointed glass skylight, paying deference to the symbol on Chicago's flag. This Oculus is surrounded by a network of pleated long-span steel trusses, clad in wood, that are oriented to maximize natural daylight. A number of Y-shaped columns support the roof structure and provide for open circulation throughout the airy space, which will also feature a lush gathering place called Central Green.
"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."
A second team will be selected in the coming months from the remaining finalists to design a pair of satellite concourses to be built west of Terminal 1. The O'Hare Global Terminal, integrating international and domestic operations, will begin construction in 2023.
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