Chicago Union Station

Project type: Museum


Location: Chicago, Il, U.S.A.


Time: 2008


An outer perimeter of chaotic speed, overlaid with a calm center. Historically, the train station, a singular program, has had to be a large place, a funnel, a bottleneck to siphon the masses into their respective slots for boarding. The train station was a destination for those wishing to leave their present destination. Present examples of all types of ports of departure try to distract or entertain the traveler. The traveler must pass through a gauntlet of museum annexes, shops and weave their way slowly, time-consumeingly to their point of departure. Our proposal will treat the user group as two: the traveler and the inhabitant.


The traveler has a destination, a purpose, a need to get through the process as efficiently as possible. The penetration into the site will be minimal; the tickets purchased en route, the space and time between the city and the outbound areas are optimized. The personal vehicle becomes the station, the station merely an access point; a promise to distant possibilities. The inhabitant seeks an extended stay; the coffee shop, the Sunday morning market, life anchored to the city. The station becomes a rock jutting out of a raging river. The place of the inhabitant is at the center of the chaos, a place to better experience the city, a place to relax, a place to watch the chaos unfold. A space reserved for those staying, not for those leaving.


The station serves as infrastructure for the city. It’s not a singular building, a place confined by boundaries. The interface with the city is blurred, inside and outside undefined.
The building becomes a neighborhood.