CTA Garfield Gateway Station Renovation

giving Chicago’s very first L station a much-deserved renovation

The original Garfield Gateway Station structure was built in 1892 to bring visitors to the World’s Columbian Exposition. As the city of Chicago’s very first L station, it is one of the oldest functioning mass transit buildings in the country. The station’s renovation brought the facility to a state of good repair, enhancing three main components including the existing operational station and existing bus turnaround, the historic station and track structure as well as the Garfield Boulevard roadway and landscaped median.

EXP was the lead architect/engineer for this design-build project. Work included the renovation of the operational stationhouse and the restoration and re-purposing of the original historic station (no longer in service) as a community/neighborhood outreach center operated by the University of Chicago. The project also included new platform canopies clad with translucent roof panels that provide profuse natural light – in place of the former dark, opaque corrugated metal roofing. New landscaping along with improvements to the station’s elevator and escalators, the installation of fare arrays, agent kiosks, lighting and finishes throughout to create a light-filled and contemporary new image for the station. 

As a historic structure to the city of Chicago, elements were retained at the station and the associated track structure spanning Garfield Boulevard. The station and track structure are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and are designated together as a Chicago Landmark.



Architecture, Structural, Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing



“The station offered the opportunity to reexamine a historically significant part of Chicago’s transit past and renovate an operational facility for the community’s benefit.”

Sara Fetterolf, Project Architect

BLT BUILT Design Award, 2022
AIA Illinois, Project with Greatest Impact over $5M, 2021
AIA Chicago, Distinguished Building Award, 2020
AIA Chicago, Interior Architecture Award, 2020
Interior Design Magazine, Best of Year Award Finalist, 2020
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