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One of Chicago’s Busiest Train Stations is Reimagined

Skidmore, Owings and Merrill | 2:35

One of Chicago’s Busiest Train Stations is Reimagined

Tim Gibson

10 June 2021

Video Views

CHICAGO’S second busiest train station is set for a dramatic facelift from architecture studio Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM).

In preliminary designs revealed yesterday, the new State/Lake elevated station features wider platforms, a sweeping glass canopy, a fly-over connection bridge and enhancements at street level for greater public access and mobility.

SOM worked closely with a diverse local consultant team with expertise in transit and historic preservation as well as neighbouring property owners.

State/Lake Station is located at a vital junction on the CTA Network, serving six of Chicago’s eight train lines within the Chicago Loop, while also providing further connections to pedestrian and bus routes.

Above and Below: The most prominent feature of the station is its new expansive glass canopy. Image courtesy of SOM.


The station’s new structural design will also open up the intersection directly below. Combined with street-level lighting upgrades and wider street corners this will allow pedestrian and vehicular traffic to move more safely and efficiently.

“The new State/Lake station will be a gateway to downtown for Chicagoans and visitors alike. As one of the most visible stations in the CTA network, the design is reflective of both its location and the needs of riders, with a soaring glass canopy, comfortable spaces for passengers, and fully integrated accessible design for riders of all mobility levels,” said SOM Design Partner Scott Duncan in a press release.

The most noticeable feature of the new station is a glass canopy that stretches out over the street like an enormous bubble.

The canopy’s frit pattern is not only bird-friendly but will also protect Chicagoans from the city’s infamously harsh winds while providing shade in the summer without obstructing natural light.

Views of the nearby Chicago Theatre marquee as well as the historical buildings on State Street will also remain undisturbed.

Above: The station makes vital improvements to pedestrian and traffic corridors. Image courtesy of SOM.

The transparency and lightness of the structure is meant to allude to Chicago’s history of structural innovation, like that of the John Hancock Center and Willis Tower, while historic materials from the existing station are functionally integrated into the design.

"Given that the State and Lake CTA Station lies within the beating heart of Chicago, we must pave the way for its full modernization and make it easily accessible for all transit riders," said Mayor Lightfoot.

"In addition to accessibility, this project also demonstrates our commitment to the full revival of the Loop—which is the economic engine and cultural hub of our great city."

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