The O’Hare Global Terminal by Santiago Calatrava

O’Hare Global Terminal

Calatrava’s Concept for the Site
As a compliment to his O’Hare Global Terminal competition entry, Calatrava has presented a vision for the O’Hare campus which is functionally independent and can be realized in the future. This proposal presents a holistic vision of an Airport City: a quarter for Chicago where airline terminals, hotels, conference centers, and shopping converge around a multi-modal transport interchange with modernized links to the city.

The exterior of the building establishes a dynamic presence on the O’Hare campus, with a domed roof that cantilevers over the Arrivals and Departures Roads. The clear glass curtain wall offers approaching passengers views into the building, and a relocated ATS Station and new canopy helps unite the entire campus and improve public transportation access. The new terminal is thus both a unifier of the campus architecture and a bold new icon for O’Hare and Chicago.

Calatrava’s Concept for the Terminal
An early design strategy was to combine the terminal building with the gate’s concourse into one centralized entity. This configuration offers several important benefits: its symmetrical presence on the site provides a clear focal point for the O’Hare campus from the outside; its equidistant proximity to Terminals 1 and 3 allows for ease of transfer for both United and American Airlines, each one of the airlines occupying one of the adjacent terminal buildings respectively.

The station’s centralized location also renders the need to extend the APM to Terminal 3 unnecessary. Calatrava’s proposal to unify the terminal with the concourse in one centralized building stems from prioritizing the passenger experience. All gates and airport functions are visible from a centralized overlook post-security, providing clear and intuitive wayfinding and ease of orientation. Walking distances to gates, between terminals, and to the APM Station is reduced due to this configuration.

Retail and food and beverage outlets are set within the interior gardens at the center of a grand light-flooded space, with all gates situated around this magnificent hall. Even the international arrivals corridor has commanding views of the grand space. The compact building form – which maintains the requisite number of airline gates – also frees additional apron space for the movement of wide-body aircraft between the Terminal and the Satellites. It reduces the building’s footprint by 10% and reduces its envelope by 20%.
A number key references to Chicago create unique passenger experiences.

The shell motif from the City of Chicago Seal is a metaphor for the layered values of the City on the lake. The roof of the terminal building echoes the shell’s triangular, fan-like shape, its soft curves and ribbing. A verdant Orchard – evoking the early history of the O’Hare site, originally known as Orchard Place – provide travelers with the singular experience of waiting for their flights in a garden. The APM station is configured as a Chicago “Y” and centered in the heart of the OGT, providing equitable passenger experience for travelers destined for gates at the Satellites. The OGT (O’Hare Global Terminal) will house all airport operations for departing and arriving passengers, including check-in and ticketing, screening, Federal Inspection Services (FIS) and transfers services for international arrivals, airline lounges, retail, and dining.

All baggage operations – drop-off, scanning, storage, pick-up, and transfers– are located within the terminal. A unique and flexible baggage hall allows real-time configuration changes to respond to domestic and international arrivals and the corresponding FIS needs. The OGT will house 11 gates with up to 17 positions due to the use of flexible Multiple Apron Ramp System (MARS) gates which can accommodate various sized aircrafts. An additional 36 gates will be located in the Satellites. Source and images Courtesy of Santiago Calatrava.

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