Union Station

Civic Planning — Chicago, Illinois

The third busiest rail terminal in the United States, Union Station is daily jammed to capacity with commuters, tourists, and regional passengers arriving and departing on Amtrak and Metra trains.

This plan reorganizes the existing station from a comprehensive standpoint, with solutions tailored to current congestion, backwards ventilation system, poorly arranged office and retail spaces, and cramped waiting lounges. Passengers currently disembark in a low-ceilinged basement concourse area—hardly an inspiring first experience of one of the greatest cities in America. A new grand concourse, providing plentiful natural light, transforms the current space and mitigates deadlock during peak hours.

By moving the taxi stand and drawing pedestrian traffic through the beautiful Great Hall, the proposal revives Daniel H. Burnham’s majestic Union Station and reestablishes it as the symbolic gateway to Chicago.