Team Led by Studio Gang Selected for O'Hare 21

John Hill
27. March 2019
Image courtesy of Studio ORD

The City of Chicago has announced that Studio ORD, the architect team led by Jeanne Gang's eponymous firm, has been selected to design the $8.5 billion expansion of O'Hare International Airport, the busiest U.S. airport.

Image courtesy of Studio ORD 

Studio ORD* bested the four other design teams that submitted designs in January 2019 for O'Hare 21. The schemes were available online, where the public could vote on their favorite, and were also on public display at the Chicago Architecture Center and submitted to an evaluation committee. It was the last, comprised of a diverse yet publicly unknown "group of members with experience in terminal construction, airport operations, architecture, planning and budget, and small and local business affairs," per today's press release from the City of Chicago, that determined the winner of the competition.

Studio ORD will design O'Hare's 2.2 million-sf Global Terminal and Concourse, while one of the other four teams will be responsible for two new satellite concourses. The Global Terminal will group both domestic and international flights under one roof, a first for O'Hare, which has sequestered international flights in a separate terminal designed by Perkins+Will 25 years ago.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who orchestrated the competition to take place before he leaves office in May, said, "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. ... Studio ORD answered that call."

Studio ORD's design, available as a short film below, features undulating wood roofs above a spacious concourse punctuated by trees. 

Their design, as described at the O'Hare 21 website:

Chicago is a city defined by motion; confluence – of our river, of trail networks, of railroads – has shaped our most vibrant civic spaces. Studio ORD’s elegant and efficient design for the O’Hare Global Terminal and Global Concourse unifies the airport’s campus by converging seamless lines of motion across three terminals around a spectacular central Oculus. This confluence becomes Orchard Field - a vibrant neighborhood that combines abundant green spaces with distinctive landmarks, bespoke retail pavilions, and diverse activity zones. Richly layered and easily navigable, it captures the unique character of Chicago and redefines O’Hare as a 21st century international destination.

*Studio ORD is a joint venture comprised of the following firms: Corgan Associates, Inc., Milhouse Engineering and Construction, Inc., STL Architects, Inc., Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates, Inc., and Studio Gang Architects, Ltd. 

Image courtesy of Studio ORD 

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