for a competition to design a new global terminal at o’hare international airport, a team led by SOM with ross barney architects and arup has put forward a bold vision for a terminal that expresses a sense of place unique to chicago, all while enhancing airport operations and elevating the passenger experience.
inspired by o’hare’s history as ‘orchard field,’ where the airport’s call signal ‘ORD’ originated, the new global terminal is defined by light-filled spaces and amenities that reflect chicago’s cultural heritage and vision for the future. the design incorporates the latest advances in aviation security and technology design, while meeting the airport’s functional needs within budget.upon entering the terminal, passengers are welcomed to a soaring, double-height gathering space, where clear sight lines lead through check-in and security. SOM has incorporated skylights to deliver an even, diffused light throughout, reducing the building’s environmental footprint. the orchard gate concourse reimagines the airport waiting room experience. designed to meet the needs of travellers from all regions, the retail and concourse areas offer unique amenities to create a local chicago experience. infusing the concourse with greenery from the outside in, the airport is transformed into a place of rejuvenation.
designed for seamless operation of the powerful hub in chicago for the nation’s top two airlines and their alliance partners, the orchard exemplifies the goals of the o’hare 21 expansion plan. the check-in, security and baggage claim halls are covered by a single, undulating, lattice-like long-span roof punctuated by skylights and supported by a series of elegant tree-like columns.