Chicago’s Union Station Great Hall, originally designed in 1925, needed substantial repairs due to water leakage and deterioration due to flaws in the original design. The Great Hall restoration project was the most recent in a series of Union Station restoration projects that began in 2010.
Goettsch Partners began the $22-million dollar Great Hall project over three years ago. The design team renovated the station’s 219-foot-long skylight, which experienced extensive moisture damage over the past several decades. An energy-efficient, modern skylight was designed and built five feet above the original cast-iron skylight. The new skylight comprises steel and 858 panes of clear, high-efficiency glass that protects the building while brightening the Great hall interiors with 50% more natural daylight than before.
Other aspects of the restoration included structural improvements, new plumbing, plaster repair, restored ornamentation, and new lighting. The architectural team removed layers of paint to reveal the original coloration of the Great Hall’s ornate plasterwork and then restored the station to its original color scheme. Additionally, a new elevator was installed and 24 ceiling chandeliers and two figural sculptures were restored.
Workers used a suspended work deck with swing stages, as opposed to conventional floor-mounted scaffolding, so work could proceed without interrupting the commute of the 120,000 daily travelers.