Chicago — The City of Chicago announced the selection of an architect team to lead the design of the $8.5 billion expansion program for O’Hare International Airport. Following a competitive process that shortlisted five highly qualified architect teams, Studio ORD was selected to design the new O’Hare Global Terminal and Global Concourse. Studio ORD is a joint venture comprising Corgan Associates, Inc.; Milhouse Engineering and Construction, Inc.; STL Architects, Inc.; Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates, Inc.; and Studio Gang Architects, Ltd.

The search for a lead architect was launched by a Request for Qualifications in June 2018 and 12 teams submitted Statements of Qualifications. A Request for Proposals followed in November 2018 to the five teams that were shortlisted based on the city’s evaluation:

  • Fentress-EXP-Brook-Garza Joint Venture Partners;
  • Foster Epstein Moreno Joint Venture Partners;
  • Santiago Calatrava LLC;
  • Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM); and
  • Studio ORD Joint Venture Partners.

The city will now enter into contract negotiations with Studio ORD. Upon contract award, Studio ORD will work with the City of Chicago and the airlines to design the new Global Terminal and Concourse. In the coming months, a second team will be selected from the remaining four finalists to design two new satellite concourses to be built west of Terminal 1.

This unprecedented expansion will elevate the travel experience for more than 83 million passengers relying upon O’Hare each year and will create tens of thousands of jobs for the community. The expansion will be paid for by airport revenues, not taxpayer dollars.

“The City of Chicago called upon teams from across the city and around the world to lead O’Hare’s historic expansion, and Studio ORD answered that call,” said Mayor Emanuel. “During this historic competition, the world’s best architecture firms submitted their incredible visions for the world to see—with each of these five world-class designs strengthening our plans to bring O’Hare into the 21st century.  Today we congratulate Studio ORD who has proven they have the experience, expertise, and the talent needed to work with the City of Chicago as we usher in a new era at O’Hare.”

At 2.2 million square feet, the new O’Hare Global Terminal will be one of the largest and most cutting-edge terminals in the nation. It will more than double the space at today’s Terminal 2, replacing it with an expanded, light-filled arrivals hall to feature: additional gates; more space for concessions, lounges and public amenities; state of the art new baggage systems; and advanced new technologies to improve security screening.

For the first time at O’Hare, the new Global Terminal will integrate international and domestic operations, allowing travelers to more easily connect to domestic flights from destinations around the world from under one roof. Additional gate capacity will allow O’Hare’s dual hub partners, United and American Airlines, and their alliance partners to grow at O’Hare, resulting in greater connectivity and competitive pricing for travelers.

The O’Hare Global Terminal is valued at $2.2 billion and is currently slated to break ground in 2023. The City will work with its airline partners to ensure a timely, cost-efficient delivery of the new O’Hare Global Terminal and throughout the entire $8.5 billion terminal capital program.

“After an intensive procurement process, the City has selected the top scoring team to deliver the design for O’Hare Global Terminal,” said Chief Procurement Officer Shannon E. Andrews. “We are excited that the winning team has committed to substantial mentor-protégé agreements as part of their plan, to ensure that local firms will benefit from the economic activity of this major project.”

The O’Hare terminal expansion program represents an unprecedented opportunity for local participation, including contracting opportunities at all levels and tens of thousands of jobs that have been forecast for the program. In addition to the City’s goal for a minimum of 30 percent of work for M/WBE firms, Studio ORD plans to facilitate seven mentor-protégé partnerships to support small and local firms in gaining airport experience.

The firm with the highest cumulative score was selected by an evaluation committee in accordance with the RFP. The RFP called the lead architect to be selected based on multiple criteria, including its ability to meet budget and schedule requirements, airport regulatory requirements, and local participation requirements. Additional criteria included sustainable design plans which required that the O’Hare Global Terminal and Global Concourse be built to qualify for a minimum of LEED Gold Status.

The evaluation committee was comprised of a diverse group of members with experience in terminal construction, airport operations, architecture, planning and budget, and small and local business affairs. Each evaluation committee member volunteered countless hours of time and committed to the professional standards of the RFP Evaluation Guidelines. Collectively, the evaluation committee represents experience of working at over 100 airports throughout the U.S. and internationally.

This project created a unique opportunity for public feedback, and an unprecedented level of transparency as part of the City’s first terminal design competition. More than 41,000 surveys were cast by residents and travelers after terminal designs were unveiled to the public at the Chicago Architecture Center earlier this year. The public’s feedback was incorporated in the evaluation committee’s review and selection of the lead architect. With the survey sparking a deeper dive into which amenities matter most to passengers, CDA is seeking additional public input on which amenities should be included in the next phase of the O’Hare expansion at www.ORD21.com.

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