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Fosters and Calatrava reveal rival Chicago airport designs

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Competing proposals by Foster + Partners and four others for an $8.5 billion expansion of O’Hare International Airport in Chicago have been revealed

Leading a consortium known as Foster Epstein Moreno JV Joint Venture Partners, the practice is up against Santiago Calatrava; SOM; Studio ORD; and Fentress-EXP-Brook-Garza Joint Venture Partners.

Design concepts by the five shortlisted teams have now been published online.

Norman Foster, founder of Foster + Partners said: ’In 1991, we revolutionized airport design with Stansted. 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.’

He added: ’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.’

The winning team will deliver a landmark new ‘global terminal’ and concourse to replace O’Hare’s existing Terminal 2 building, which will be demolished.

The second-placed team, meanwhile, will be commissioned to deliver two nearby satellite concourses connected to the main building by underground tunnel.

Teams that failed to make the shortlist include Grimshaw with Gensler, HOK and BIG.

O’Hare, on the north-west side of Chicago, was created in the post-war years 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 80 million passengers a year. Both terminals 2 and 3 have yet to be upgraded from their original design.

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