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

breaking new ground in air traffic control design

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St. Louis Lambert International Airport
Terminal 1 Renovations and Modernization

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


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