Chicago O’Hare International Airport FAA South Air Traffic Control Tower

breaking new ground in air traffic control design

The new 207-foot tall South Air Traffic Control Tower (SATCT) and Base Building serves the new southernmost runway at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. EXP’s design provides a simple, economical and durable solution to meet the operational needs of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), while also addressing the desire of the Chicago Department of Aviation to create a sustainable, elegant and iconic image.

The most striking aspect of the design is the simple extruded shaft – a break from traditional slender-shaft bulb-top towers. The solution inverts conventional tower plans by pushing “core” elements (elevator/stairs/shaft) to the perimeter, opening the center of the tower for direct access underneath the cab from the junction level rooms. The result is a simple, durable and elegant design that has the flexibility to adapt to change as new technologies advance.

The project employs a number of sustainable strategies, including an extensive green roof and geothermal heating/cooling, and is only the third air traffic control tower in the US to achieve LEED Gold.




Architecture, Interior Design, Lighting Design, Landscape Architecture, Structural, Mechanical, Plumbing

Structural Engineers Association of Illinois (SEAOI), Award of Merit, 2017
American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois (ACEC Illinois), Honor Award, 2016
American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), Recognition Award, 2016
Airports Going Green, Honorable Mention - Sustainability Initiatives, 2016
American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Excellence in Engineering Award, 2015
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