MGLM Wins Illinois Congress for New Urbanism Charter Award

December 2011

The design of a new Chicago Grand Central Terminal ​received a Charter Award from the Illinois Chapter of the Congress for New Urbanism in 2011.

The foundations of the Chicago Grand Central High Speed Rail Terminal design idea are rooted in a now-common understanding that a high speed train network would bring myriad benefits to the United States and the Midwest generally, and Chicago and its local economy specifically.

What distinguishes the design is something that is sadly no longer a given in American master planning: the siting of a major train terminal in an available city center site, with an architectural aesthetic appropriate to its civic purpose. At the city level, its siting is highly rational: one block south of the Loop, within physical proximity of the commuter Metra’s LaSalle Station and the CTA’s Blue Line (a potential first direct connection of any rail station in the city to the “L” system), and three blocks from the city’s Greyhound Station.

Among MGLM’s objectives in generating the design for the Grand Central Terminal was an argument for the reintroduction of the language of civic architecture to buildings with civic purposes, the importance of beauty over cult-of-personality narcissim, and the long forgotten notion that the architectural aesthetic should reflect and celebrate place.