foster + partners, epstein, and moreno propose 'theater of aviation' for chicago o'hare airport
 

foster + partners, epstein, and moreno propose 'theater of aviation' for chicago o'hare airport

last week, proposals to modernize chicago’s o’hare international airport were unveiled by five competing teams. the contest called for a new building to replace the airport’s existing 1960s structure with ‘a cutting-edge global terminal that reflects the legacy of chicago’s innovation, architecture and diversity’. one of the shortlisted teams is a joint venture led by foster + partners and chicago-based firms epstein and moreno.

foster partners chicago ohare airport
the column-free structure has been designed to serve as landmark gateway to the city of chicago
image © foster + partners | video © foster + partners

 

 

approaching the terminal building, departing passengers first encounter three sweeping arches that create a dramatic canopy over the drop-off area. the arches then merge into a single curve that encloses a naturally-lit column-free space. supported on its perimeter at just six points, this distinctive roof structure unites the scheme through the creation of a grand unified space. a large panoramic window gives passengers a sense of orientation and promotes intuitive wayfinding. conceived as a ‘theater of aviation’, passengers are invited to relax and take in views of the airfield.

foster partners chicago ohare airport
a large panoramic window gives passengers a sense of orientation and promotes intuitive wayfinding
image © foster + partners

 

 

‘this project brings two passions together, my personal passion for flight — for over forty years I have flown in and out of international airports as a pilot — and my love affair with cities,’ says norman foster, whose firm worked on the proposal alongside epstein and moreno. ‘I remember coming to chicago as a graduate and being captivated by the energy, the extraordinary location, the music the culture, and the outdoor sculpture — all of those influences blend together in our proposal.’

foster partners chicago ohare airport
the proposal has been conceived as a ‘theater of aviation’
image © foster + partners

 

 

‘in 1991, we revolutionized airport design with stansted,’ foster continues. ‘at o’hare global terminal, we are creating another revolution — an extraordinary shell with a span of 550 feet, with views that create a direct visual relationship with the aircraft and a sense of orientation and drama, a space that truly lifts the spirits. it pushes the limits of technology to create a space that is generous, flexible, and points to the future.’ an exhibition of the proposal, together with the other four entries, remains on display at the chicago architecture center until january 31, 2019.

foster partners chicago ohare airport
passengers can relax against the backdrop of the airfield
image © foster + partners

foster partners chicago ohare airport
intimate lounge areas retain a clear relationship with the rest of the space
image © foster + partners

foster partners chicago ohare airport
arriving passengers are greeted with a bright mezzanine space, which looks onto the departure level below
image © foster + partners

foster partners chicago ohare airport
the arrival hall is filled with natural light with clearly visible lifts and escalators
image © foster + partners, created by uniform

foster partners chicago ohare airport
the check-in hall has large openings that open views to the arrival hall below
image © foster + partners, created by uniform

foster partners chicago ohare airport
the roof shell touches the ground at just six points
image © foster + partners

foster partners chicago ohare airport
the form of arches represents three terminals being unified under one roof
image © foster + partners, created by uniform

foster partners chicago ohare airport
the aerodynamic design intends to bring back the romance associated with flying and aviation
image © dbox / foster + partners

 

 

project info:

 

team: foster + partners, epstein,moreno
location:
o’hare airport, chicago, USA
client: department of aviation, city of chicago

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