As one of five finalist teams in the high-stakes design competition to expand the O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, SOM — along with Ross Barney Architects and Arup — is proposing a “bold, honest vision” that emphasizes sustainability, enhancing airport operations, and improving the passenger experience. It also focuses on reusing the existing terminal structure, which would save an estimated $75 million in construction costs, according to the design team.
SOM shared more info about their team's proposal below.
Project description: “Inspired by O’Hare’s history as ‘Orchard Field,’ where the airport’s call signal ‘ORD’ originated, SOM’s design for the new O’Hare Global Terminal is defined by light-filled spaces and amenities that reflect Chicago’s cultural heritage and vision for the future.
The design incorporates the latest advances in aviation security and technology design, while meeting the airport’s functional needs within budget. The design also reuses of the existing Terminal 2 structure, which will allow for streamlined phasing and uninterrupted airport operations during construction, while saving $75 million in costs and around 600 tons of embodied carbon.”
“Upon entering the terminal, passengers are welcomed to a soaring, double-height gathering space, where clear sight lines lead through check-in and security.
Skylights deliver an even, diffused light throughout the space, reducing the building’s environmental footprint. The check-in, security and baggage claim halls are covered by a single, undulating, lattice-like roof, punctuated by skylights and supported by a series of elegant tree-like columns, as in an orchard.”
“The retail and concourse areas will offer unique amenities to create a distinctly local Chicago experience. In the Neighborhood, the Global Terminal’s retail and culinary hub, passengers can experience a taste of Chicago’s food and arts scene with shops, restaurants, and entertainment drawn from across the city.”
The proposal reimagines the airport waiting room experience with a tree-lined garden. It also includes areas for work, play, and relaxation, like children's spaces, personal cabins, and interactive media spaces. “Infusing the concourse with greenery from the outside in, the airport is transformed into a place of rejuvenation,” the design team says.
“No longer framed by low-ceilinged hallways, international passengers will have views of the Chicago skyline before entering the baggage claim hall, under the same soaring ceiling as departing passengers. To either side, passengers see a prairie landscape. Once through Customs passengers are in the same soaring Arrivals Hall through which they passed at the beginning of their journey.”
“Designed for seamless operation as central U.S. hub for the nation’s top two airlines and their alliance partners, the Orchard exemplifies the goals of the O’Hare 21 expansion plan. As the O’Hare campus grows, the Orchard will cultivate the airport’s success, allowing for future expansion and change, providing financial viability, maximizing design efficiency, and serving our shared environment.”
All images courtesy of SOM.
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