O’Hare 21 – Global Terminal IT System Integration
The City of Chicago’s historic $8.5 billion O’Hare 21 project is underway to modernize O’Hare International Airport with new facilities and modern infrastructure over the next decade, marking the largest expansion and first major capital improvements to its passenger terminals in more than 25 years. O’Hare 21 will grow the airport’s overall terminal square footage by more than 60% from 5.5 to 8.9 million square feet, increase aircraft gate frontage by 25% and deliver a more streamlined passenger experience to enable O’Hare’s future growth by better connecting travelers and Chicago to other parts of the world.
The massive investment aims to set new records and fuel more connectivity, tourism and economic impact for Chicago well into the future. O’Hare 21 is projected to directly create more than 60,000 jobs over the course of the program. The overall regional economic impact is expected to contribute at least $50 billion to the region and create at least 460,000 regional jobs in the next eight years.
The project will be delivered in phases, with an expanded Terminal 5 representing the first major terminal upgrade at O’Hare. Construction of the satellite concourses and supporting infrastructure will begin in 2022. Once the satellites are online, construction of the O’Hare Global Terminal can begin, replacing Terminal 2. The program also includes enhancements to integrate Terminals 1 and 3 into the O’Hare Global Terminal to enable seamless passenger connections.
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, more than doubling the space of the existing Terminal 2 and replacing it with an expanded, light-filled arrivals hall to dramatically improving the first impressions of tens of millions of visitors to Chicago every year.
The City of Chicago selected Studio ORD to serve as the lead architect for the O’Hare Global Terminal and Concourse. Studio ORD is a joint venture comprised of Studio Gang Architects, Ltd., Solomon Cordwell Buenz, Corgan, Milhouse Engineering & Construction, Inc. and STL Architects, Inc. Collectively, these partners have designed hundreds of projects in Chicago and more than 150 airport terminal projects across the globe. In addition to the City’s goal for a minimum of 30% 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 new Global Terminal and Global Concourse is a critical project for unlocking both O’Hare’s potential to be a leader in aviation and Chicago’s future success as a contemporary, economically strong, and truly global city,” said Jeanne Gang, Founding Principal of Studio Gang and Lead Designer of Studio ORD. “As a Chicagoan, I understand deeply the importance of O’Hare to our city’s identity, and I am honored that my hometown has provided our team the opportunity to realize a design that can demonstrate Chicago’s unique culture, traditions, and diversity to visitors and residents alike.”
Level-1 will work closely with Studio ORD as the future IT provider and communications systems integrator for the new Global Terminal.
O’Hare reclaimed its top spot as the nation’s busiest airport in 2018 by operating more than 900,000 flights for the first time since 2007. As O’Hare adds gates and improves its terminals, passenger volumes are expected to keep pace with a strong demand for air travel worldwide, which, according to aviation experts, will double to 14 billion air travelers in the next decade.