The concept of MOVEMENT is at the heart of the transit system, and the “L” is the thread that weaves through Chicago to connect the City of Neighborhoods with the Loop, its iconic landmarks, and the Lakefront parks.
The wave form of the canopies weaves through the historic Wabash Avenue canyon as an undulating counterpoint to the geometry of the city grid and buildings, and anticipates the soft forms of the park and lake a block away.
In this station design the architecture is structure and the structure is architecture. It is simple, elegant and economical, expressing honesty of construction and the art of craft. The canopy steel was designed to integrate all utilities (gutters, downspouts, conduit, lighting, communication and signage cabling) within the profiles, thus yielding a streamlined uncluttered appearance, and eliminating surfaces for roosting pigeons and trash accumulation.
The skeletal steel and faceted glass structure creates a dynamic play of light alluding to diamond facets and the immediate Jeweler’s Row context. From the platform the canopy serves as a deliberate contrasting frame that captures views to the historic Wabash Avenue terracotta facades.
The Station influences its context beyond its primary use as transportation infrastructure to become “cultural infrastructure” with ambitions of serving as public sculpture that animates and enlivens the Wabash Avenue canyon at all levels - from the street, from the platform, from the buildings above and the long view from blocks away, and in so doing unlocking the hidden potential of the formerly dark street.
The $75 million construction cost was funded entirely by Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funds. The Station serves over 4 million riders annually. With increased capacity and full accessibility for all riders, it serves to reduce vehicular traffic, congestion, pollution and CO2 in the city core.