Public gets first view of proposals for future O'Hare terminal

The city has officially unveiled the five final design proposals for a huge new terminal at O’Hare Airport.

On Thursday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel got a firsthand look at models of the five finalists for the proposed $8.5-billion-dollar Global Alliance terminal at O’Hare.

"Every one of those terminals or submissions look like something you would see in the far east or the middle east. That's going to be right here in the Midwest,” Mayor Emanuel said.

It's a competition between five of the world's leading architects to design a massive new terminal that would replace terminal two, which is nearly 60 years old, adding dozens of new gates and nearly three million square feet of new space.

All the designs are sleek and futuristic, some with unique features like indoor gardens and trees, hammocks for tired passengers or a giant atrium filled with natural light.

But the big goal is to speed the transition between domestic and international flights.

"So that when you do have a connecting flight it's a seamless and efficient transition from an international flight to a connecting. But it's also going to benefit everyone,” said Jamie Rhee, Chicago Aviation Commissioner.

An evaluation committee will have the ultimate say in which of the five designs is the winner. But for the next week, the public will also get a vote. You can do that by visiting the Chicago Architecture Center where the models are on public display.

"We're the city of architecture. This is something we should really be proud of,” said Lynn Osmond of the Chicago Architecture Center. “And so it's a great way to get people involved in a very important decision for the City of Chicago."

The winning proposal will be open to the public in 2028.