Great Lakes Naval Station Visitors Center


Department of the Navy


Great Lakes, Illinois


Its context as a training station within an established community calls for higher sensibility to all of the design solutions on the gates, visitor's center, and perimeter areas to further enhance its connectivity with surrounding land uses and future plans.


Exp Federal designed the Great Lakes Naval Station Visitors Center through a holistic yet logical spatial hierarchy that provides a functional secure layout, creates identity through heightened aesthetic quality as well as increases clarity on the hierarchy of these gates within the stations overall layout. The building is organized into three main volumes; the center high column, which consists of the public waiting and circulation space, is flanked by two lower volumes which consist of public meeting rooms and staff and building support functions. The longitudinal axis of the building is oriented east/west with the public space articulated by a raised clerestory window area in the center of the roof system to give volume and natural light into the public circulation space. This design element, with its height and illumination at night, serves as a means of denoting the location of the Visit Control Center. The center high volume serves as the main entry vestibule, waiting space for visitor registration activities and staff visitor registration activities.