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Chicago launches major contest for new O’Hare Airport terminal

O’Hare International Airport
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The City of Chicago has launched an international contest for a £986 million expansion of O’Hare International Airport

Open to ‘world-class talents’, the competition will select an architect-led team to replace O’Hare’s existing Terminal 2 building, which will be demolished.

The winning team will deliver a landmark new ‘global terminal’ and concourse accepting both domestic and international flights, while a second placed team will be commissioned to deliver two nearby satellite concourses connected to the main building by underground tunnel. Designs should build upon the city’s ‘unparalleled legacy of leading architectural achievements’.

Up to five teams will be invited to participate in the latest contest following an open Request for Qualifications round.

In its brief, the city says it is ‘seeking to engage world-class terminal architectural talent capable of delivering the new O’Hare GIobal Terminal and O’Hare Global Concourse with a goal of redefining the image, technology and level of service for international terminal development …

‘The intent of this Request for Qualifications is to identify qualified respondents having demonstrated experience, expertise and resources to provide the design, engineering and construction administration services for the following types of projects: demolishing existing Terminal 2 and replacing it with a new international terminal facility constructing, new concourses, modification of some existing concourses and inter-terminal connectors.’

O’Hare, on the north-west side of Chicago, was created in the post-war era as a pioneering modern airport facility featuring concourses, highway access, underground refuelling systems, and seven runways.

The enormous 3,087ha airport was the busiest in the world from 1963 to 1998, and today is the sixth busiest with around 79.8 million passengers a year. Both terminals 2 and 3 have yet to be upgraded from their original design.

The new buildings will provide a ‘convenient, functional, and intuitive’ passenger experience featuring enhanced security and 24-hour customer facilities.

Proposals will be expected to efficiently harness space, maximise non-airline revenue sources, improve sustainability and deliver a ‘timeless design’ reflective of the wider city’s architectural innovation.

The competition comes two years after US firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects beat Adjaye Associates in the competition to design the Barack Obama Foundation’s new presidential library in Chicago.

The deadline for applications is 9 August.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

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