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Public input ends on new designs for $8.5B O’Hare Airport expansion

Public voted on five designs vying for O’Hare expansion contract

Public feedback on five designs for the $8.5 billion expansion project for O’Hare International Airport ended January 23.

From January 17 through January 23rd, residents and the traveling public viewed the new terminal designs, and shared their feedback in one of three ways: by visiting terminal models at the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC), by visiting a special exhibit at O’Hare’s Terminal 2, or by viewing online at

The feedback period ended January 23. Both the CAC exhibit of terminal models and the special exhibit at Terminal 2 ran through January 31.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Aviation will consider the feedback in selecting a lead architect for the project.

The city unveiled the designs of five architecture finalists with renderings and models representing the potential future O’Hare Global Terminal. It then invited the public to review the designs and share their opinions on which best represents a modern airport and the city’s aviation future.

The winning teams will deliver designs for a new, modernized terminal that will dramatically improve first impressions of the city for tens of millions of visitors every year. This unique opportunity represents the first time the City of Chicago involved public feedback in a design competition at its airports.

At 2.25 million square feet, O’Hare’s new terminal will be among the largest terminals built in the U.S.

“As the city that makes no little plans, Chicago is taking a bold step forward to choose the architect team that will set the course for O’Hare’s biggest transformation yet,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This design competition celebrates our tradition of innovation and world-leading architectural history. As we move forward with the O’Hare expansion, we invite our residents and travelers to weigh in on one of the largest terminals in the country.”

“The new O’Hare Global Terminal is at the center of our plans to transform O’Hare from curb to gate,” said Jamie L. Rhee, Commissioner of CDA. “The new O’Hare Global Terminal represents an opportunity not only for O’Hare and its airline partners to grow, but also will fuel new opportunities for residents and businesses from our 77 communities. We are thrilled to engage the public now in the first of many public feedback opportunities as we embark on our expansion program.”

Residents as well as the traveling public were encouraged to give feedback by taking a one-time survey by January 23. The survey included five questions about the design concepts, as well as the new terminal features and expansion plan that will elevate the overall experience at O’Hare. This feedback will be considered in the final architect selection.

Five 3D models were on display at the Chicago Architecture Center, located on 111 E. Upper Wacker Drive. The design teams were asked to deliver innovative designs to build a cutting-edge new O’Hare Global Terminal, while reflecting the legacy of Chicago’s innovation, architecture and diversity.

“The Chicago Architecture Center is proud to host the designs that will set the trajectory of O’Hare for years to come,” said Lynn Osmond, President and CEO of the CAC. “All Chicagoans have a stake in O’Hare.”

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