If you haven’t been by Chicago Union Station in a while, here’s your excuse to make the trip: The renovations are done.
Just in time for the landmark transportation hub to be reimagined with a new hotel, restaurants, and a sister skyscraper, Goettsch Partners has announced that work is complete on its renovation of the station’s current public areas, including the Great Hall. GP is also the hand crafting the skyscraper.
The Loop firm designed a three-year restoration program for Amtrak which included structural improvements, plumbing and plaster repair, and new lighting. The price tag of $22 million includes removing decades of paint, bringing the interior back to its original color.
You can see the biggest change when you look up. The massive glass canopy that covers the Great Hall has been restored, and preserved. Restored in that the wrought iron and glass were refurbished. Protected in that it’s no longer exposed to the elements.
The historic skylight was damaged by Chicago’s weather, so a new skylight arc was built five feet above it to modern standards. It will protect the historic 219-foot-long half pipe from further water damage.
If you’re wondering if two panes of glass instead of one made things dimmer, the answer is no. With the new steel arch’s 858 panes of glass, there is actually 50% more natural light in the great hall than before. At night, the station is illuminated by 24 newly restored chandeliers, and 27 new light fixtures that are period-accurate reproductions.
The team lead on this one was Leonard Koroski, who was also behind the restoration of the Wrigley Building and the Civic Opera Building.