SOM selected to design satellite concourses at O’Hare

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The City of Chicago has revealed the architects to lead the design of two new satellite concourses at O’Hare International Airport, an integral part of the airport’s US$8.5bn Terminal Area Plan expansion.

Following a competitive process, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has been selected to design Satellite Concourse 1 and Satellite Concourse 2, which will be built west of the main terminal core. The city will now enter contract negotiations with SOM.

“With more than 80 million passengers relying on O’Hare every year, Chicago and our airline partners are making necessary investments today to keep O’Hare number one in the nation for connectivity and a competitive global hub for the future,” Mayor Lori E Lightfoot said. “As we build new state-of-the-art facilities, my administration will ensure residents from communities throughout our city can benefit from the thousands of jobs and opportunities created as we move O’Hare into the 21st century.”

With approximately 1,200,000ft2 (111,485m2) of total building space, Satellites 1 and 2 will feature concourses that are double the width of those currently in use at O’Hare. All told, the Global Terminal and Concourse and satellites will provide 70% more passenger space and a 75% increase in commercial space at the airport. This means more passenger amenities, doubled airline lounge space, and the potential for more than 50 unique new dining and retail brands to have a presence at O’Hare.

“We congratulate SOM, and we applaud and remain inspired by all of the teams for submitting innovative, world-class proposals,” Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Jamie L Rhee said. “O’Hare 21 is a truly transformational program for the airport and the entire Chicagoland area, revolutionizing the passenger experience and providing regional economic growth that will be felt for years to come.”

The new modern, light-filled satellite concourses will be designed with flexible gates to accommodate both narrow and wide-body airplanes, increasing connectivity and streamlining travel for passengers heading to domestic and international destinations.

Satellite 1 will support international arrivals and departures as well as domestic arrivals and departures. Satellite 2 will support domestic arrivals and departures with international arrivals for pre-cleared markets, where passengers have already gone through US Customs Border Protection before boarding their flight to the USA.

“It is wonderful that the city is deepening the bench of exceptional talent working on this transformative project. We look forward to collaborating with SOM to realize our vision for a Global Terminal and Concourse that captures the unique culture of Chicago while ensuring a seamless and world-class experience for all its users,” Jeanne Gang, lead designer for the O’Hare Global Terminal, said.

The satellite concourses are valued at US$1.4bn and are expected to break ground in 2022. The city will work with its airline partners to ensure a timely, cost-efficient delivery of Satellite 1 and Satellite 2 and throughout the entire US$8.5bn project – which will be paid for by airport revenues.

Additional gate capacity will enable O’Hare to keep up with projected travel growth and enable 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.

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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