Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is one of the world’s busiest airports, welcoming millions of passengers each year. To enhance the experience of arriving international passengers at Terminal 5, the Chicago Department of Aviation decided to offer “One Stop” service, which provides expedited Federal Inspection Service processing to individuals with valid entry documents, carry-on baggage, and no foreign goods to declare. Eligible passengers are processed at “One Stop” immigration kiosks, and, upon clearance, directed into an express corridor that bypasses the baggage claim and U.S. Customs inspection areas, and leads them directly to the T5 arrivals lobby.
Our team was tasked with designing the conversion of the existing baggage cart return corridors located on either side of the baggage claim area into the express corridors. Our challenge was to create bright, welcoming spaces that would minimize the inherent “tunnel effect” of the narrow halls, while delivering the final product in 75 calendar days.
The “One Stop” express corridors feature perforated stainless steel panels along one wall with custom, visually dynamic glazed panels on the other. Our design of the glazed panels undulates along the length of the corridor, and the reflections create the illusion of greater width. Diagonal bands of colored thin-set terrazzo tile add a layer of visual interest while providing a durable, maintenance-free surface. The composite terrazzo tiles included glass fragments as part of the matrix, which create a sparkle effect as one moves through the space.
We selected materials that are able to withstand the daily abuse and maintenance requirements of the airport facility and could be guaranteed for delivery and installation, enabling us to meet the project’s aggressive schedule. Today, O’Hare’s “One Stop” offering provides a streamlined U.S. entry process for international travelers on the go.