O’Hare International Airport South Air Traffic Control Tower

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America

The Tower will serve new southern runways as part of the $15B O'Hare Modernization Project. The design provides a simple economical solution to meet the operational needs of the FAA, while addressing the City's interest in a unique and iconic image.

The design is a departure from typical cylindrical-shaft/bulb-top towers. The prismatic form results from pulling the elevator to one side and progressively angling the stair outward to the other side as the tower rises - the result creates a void directly underneath the control cab. This space - normally occupied by elevator and stair - more easily accommodates equipment and minimizes critical run-lengths for services and cabling from the electrical room to the cab above.

The origami-like form is likened to a folded paper airplane and creates a striking silhouette against the horizon. The "winged" portion of the shaft is cast-in-place concrete. The stair enclosure is steel with glass and perforated screen. The Base Building is organized in parallel bars, one housing "equipment" spaces, the other, "people" spaces. The roof is sculpted as a continuous green ground plane. Offices are located along the west for natural light and views, and provide a friendly face for the machine-intensive building.



Architect of record

Thomas Hoepf, FAIA
exp US Services
205 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60601, USA
Phone: 312.616.7379
thomas.hoepf@exp.com

Photographer

Thomas Hoepf, FAIA
exp US Services
205 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60601, USA
Phone: 312.616.7379
thomas.hoepf@exp.com