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Architectural Glass Creates a New Experience for O’Hare Airport Travelers

Two-story printed glass interior curtain wall
  • Interior Glass Curtian Wall
    Two-story printed glass interior curtain wall

Terminal 5 of the Chicago O’Hare International Airport was recently renovated and given the “wow factor” with digital ceramic printed architectural glass. Westfield Group gave Epstein Architects the challenge of redesigning the terminal’s interior so that it into a space that would make a strong statement. According to Tim Ozog, Designer at Epstein Architectural, the team decided that a graphic solution was the answer for redeveloping the common spaces and the concession and security areas of the terminal.

“We looked at printing on vinyl, but immediately dismissed this as an option due to the lack of permanence. We were looking for sustainable design and durability, and for the image to last at least 20 years − all without going over budget,” said Ozog. With these ambitious goals in mind, Epstein Architects turned to Goldray Industries, known for their extensive in-house manufacturing capabilities and their reputation for solving complex architectural decorative glass challenges. Upon seeing Goldray’s solution to their graphic needs, Ozag said: “The full range of colors, high resolution, flexibility of application, and durability of digital ceramic printing, made this technology the only solution for this project.”

The first element seen upon entering the terminal is a two-story interior curtain wall that blocks entry to private areas and directs people to the security checkpoint. The color bands and geometric shapes of the designed glass were printed with a gradient to ensure the flow of natural light without diminishing its privacy function. The wall was installed using clips instead of silicon to maintain the aesthetic quality of the design, which seamlessly continues onto the printed glass wall cladding. This provides a beautiful backing to the retail shops, demarcates the restrooms, and carries on the narrative. The digital ceramic printed architectural glass guard rail on the upper level, which is seen by both arriving and departing passengers, creates a separation between these two groups while also creating a shared experience as both can see the images of the flight patterns spanning the globe.

Greg Saroka, President of Goldray Industries, said: “We worked through all the various color and design options until one met all expectations. Using the Dip-Tech solution we were then able to fabricate this highly comprehensive, detailed project exactly how it was conceptualized and drawn by the architects.”

To read more about the role of glass architecture in airports and more from Epstein Architects on the O’Hare T5 project, check out the article “Providing a Different Dimension to Airport Design” in the May/June Edition of Glass Worldwide.

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