EXP’s redesign for CTA’s Garfield Elevated Station wins big at AIA Chicago’s Designight

November 25, 2020

On November 19, The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Chicago Chapter held their 65th annual Designight, honoring the recipients of the Design Excellence Awards. The evening recognized the best work by Chicago architecture firms and Chicago-based projects.

EXP’s redesign for the CTA Garfield Elevated Station Renovation project received the Honor Award in the Interior Architecture category, AIA’s highest distinction of excellence, and Special Recognition for public art integration in the Distinguished Building category.

Originally built in 1892, the Garfield Elevated Station was built to bring visitors to the World’s Columbian Exposition. This gateway renovation project creates a new and iconic gateway to the Washington Park neighborhood in Chicago’s South Side through the completed renovation of the active station to benefit 475,000 riders and restoration and re-purposing of the original historic stationhouse as a community-based arts facility.

“Unlike our past two award-winning stations – 95th/Dan Ryan Terminal and Washington/Wabash Stations, which are large-scale gateway projects, the CTA Garfield Gateway Station is an example of how a modest project can have an equally powerful impact on a community and a neighborhood, and why design excellence matters, regardless of scope, scale or budget. And further, why collaboration across disciplines yields compelling places that enrich the lives of our neighbors every day,” said EXP’s Senior Vice President/Design Director of Global Operations, Thomas Hoepf, FAIA.

The active station renovation included façade improvements, elevator/escalator enhancements, extensions of platform canopies, as well as complete renovation and re-imaging of the stationhouse interior with visually enhanced architectural features integrating site-specific work by world-renowned Chicago-based artists, Nick Cave and Bob Faust.

The art is symbolic of the project’s purpose of revitalizing the area. Nick Cave and Bob Faust jointly shared, “The Garfield Greenline Station installation was an opportunity for us to really share our practices with Chicago. It is Nick’s first permanent public artwork in the city with access to everyone on the regular and seamlessly integrates art and design with its architecture and the environment. Our goal was to connect with a viewer from the sidewalk and then usher them into the station and all the way to their train via the platform. Working with EXP allowed the art experience to go from an expected object-based experience to one that literally wraps around you.”

EXP architectural designer, Sara Fetterolf shared, “There was a common expression used by our project team at EXP, including Thomas Hoepf, John Stryker, Miguel Barrero and many other talented professionals, when describing this project. We share how the station is the visual representation of how architecture is art and art is architecture. The immersion of both create an integrated experience, linking commuter to the environment, historic past to a contemporary and modern present and future and lastly, a greater appreciation for the limitless opportunities of architecture’s impact. This project reveals a telling story of a community’s revival, as well as a team of experts and artists who sought innovative approaches to foster its success, and that perhaps was the most rewarding win of the evening.”