City reveals shortlist of architects vying to design $8.5B O’Hare expansion

After receiving bids from twelve groups that included some of the planet’s top architectural talent, Chicago has narrowed its search down to five teams hoping to design a $8.5 billion terminal expansion of O’Hare International Airport.

The bid shortlist is headlined by local giant Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Chicago-based Studio Gang, Spanish-born starchitect Santiago Calatrava, London’s Foster + Partners, and Colorado-based Fentress Architects. The Foster bid is supplemented by additional Chicago talent from Epstein and JGMA while the Studio Gang-headed effort partners with designers at Corgan Associates, STL Architects, and Solomon Cordwell Buenz.

Perhaps equally impressive is the number of architectural heavyweights comprising the seven bids that did not make the cut. Notable names left off the shortlist include Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Perkins+Will, HOK, Gensler, Grimshaw Architects, Studio Fuksas, FGP Atelier, Goettsch Partners, and Rafael Viñoly.

Arguably most surprising is the exclusion of Chicago’s own Helmut Jahn, whose eponymous firm designed O’Hare’s iconic two-concourse Terminal 1. Passing over a local team with such close ties to the existing airport suggests officials have a desire to take O’Hare in a “new architectural direction,” wrote Chicago Tribune columnist Blair Kamin.

The remaining architects will compete to design the O’Hare Global Terminal, a massive complex that will replace the aging Terminal 2. The new facility is part of the City of Chicago’s ambitious O’Hare 21 initiative which represents the airport’s first major overhaul in 25 years. It will join a planned expansion of Terminal 5 and renovations to Terminals 1 and 3.

The city hopes to complete the massive, multiphase project by 2026.

Source: Curbed Chicago

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