O’Hare Orchard’s Past Inspires Future Design Renderings

CHICAGO (CBS) — The public is getting a new look at a project to modernize O’Hare International Airport.

The massive project called O’Hare 21 has been in the works for years.

On Tuesday, city leaders helped unveil new renderings of a crucial phase of the project.

New architectural renderings provide a glimpse of what the O’Hare of the future could be. The design is inspired by what existed here long before the airport.

“The airport code, ORD, refers to the orchards that once filled the site,” said Ryan Culligan of Skidmore Owing & Merrill.

With all the stress of travel, most people don’t think about trees, but architects want travelers to notice nature as they move through a modernized O’Hare.

“Passengers will connect with landscapes typical of the Chicago area, providing a rare opportunity to relax in nature at an airport,” Culligan said.

New renderings reveal what travelers can expect from the future satellite concourse.

“This is a once-in-a-generation expansion. The modernization of O’Hare, coming at an unprecedented time,” said Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson.

It’s part of a massive overhaul of O’Hare that includes the construction of two new concourses, a new global terminal and an underground tunnel connecting it all.

“It’s a new chapter for O’Hare. It’s a new chapter for the city of Chicago and the entire region,” Johnson said.

Satellite Concourse One will expand on the existing Concourse C – adding 19 new gates with the flexibility to accommodate aircraft of varying sizes.

“This lobby is designed to adapt with the times, as the city evolves and O’Hare’s needs change,” Culligan said.

When visitors see the new ORD, the design team wants them to think of “orchard.”

“Our design, as you can see in some of the renderings revealed today, takes inspiration from these orchards with rows of tree-like columns that create clear sight lines for travelers while allowing airlines to benefit from flexibility throughout the boarding process,” Culligan said. .

Early work on the Concourse One satellite began in the spring and construction will continue until at least 2028.

Years of work. Before O’Hare feels like an architect’s design oasis.

“Dappled light will fall from the skylights above, filtering through the rows of tree columns, creating a pleasant, evenly lit space,” Culligan said.

Three Chicago-based firms, including the architects behind the Willis Tower and the Hancock Building, are leading work on Satellite Concourse One.

The city said the project would create more than 3,800 construction jobs.