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SOM redesigns Chicago’s State/Lake Station

The stop is one of the busiest in the city.

June 10, 2021 |
State/Lake Station from street level

Renderings courtesy SOM

The City of Chicago, Chicago Department of Transportation, and Chicago Transit Authority have recently revealed preliminary designs for the State/Lake elevated station and Red Line Connection in downtown Chicago. The station is the second busiest in the CTA network.

The proposed $180 million design includes wider, safer platforms, a sweeping glass canopy to protect passengers from the elements, a new accessible fly-over connection bridge, new elevators for riders of all mobilities, and a public realm enhancements at street level.


State/Lake Station from above


The station’s structural design will be improved opening it up to the intersection below, removing obstructive columns, and enhancing safety for pedestrian and vehicle traffic along State Street. Historic materials from the existing station are functionally integrated into the design along with educational elements to provide a connection to the past and the future. Street-level lighting upgrades, wider street corners, an improved pedestrian crossing, and an accessible connection to the plaza to the north are also included.

“The new State/Lake station will be a gateway to downtown for Chicagoans and visitors alike. As one of the most visible stations in the CTA network, the design is reflective of both its location and the needs of riders, with a soaring glass canopy, comfortable spaces for passengers, and fully integrated accessible design for riders of all mobility levels,” said Scott Duncan, SOM Design Partner, in a release. 


State/Lake Station from the platform


The glass canopy will feature a bird-friendly frit pattern that provides shading in the summer and protection from harsh Chicago winds in the winter. It is also highly structurally efficient, minimizing obstructions to provide views of the Chicago Theatre marquee.

A glass and metal-clad bridge on the western end of the station will connect to new elevators and stairs for fully accessible circulation from street to platform. Widened platforms and additional required exits will accommodate increased ridership and improve comfort and safety.


State/Lake Station from the platform looking toward the Chicago Theatre


The design is led by SOM, TranSystems, and a local consultant team with expertise in transit and historic preservation. The team’s diverse local consultant team includes HDR, GSG Consultants, Ardmore Roderick, Garza Karhoff Engineering, Legacy Rail Operations, Rider Levett Bucknall, Milhouse Engineering, site design group, Gannett Fleming, Facet Engineering, American Surveying, and Metro Strategies.


State/Lake Station platform


State/Lake Station from street level

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