Terminal Silhouettes: Redrawn ORD with Concourse L Stinger



Chicago O’Hare was one of the first terminal silhouettes I drew. While I generally like how it turned out, I’ve learned a lot of techniques from the dozens of terminals I’ve drawn since then. For a while, I’ve wanted to redraw ORD from scratch and try to recreate a better version of it.

Earlier this year, ORD opened an expansion to Terminal 3/Concourse L, adding another five gates (L20–L24). I’d watched its construction progress from the windows of the old Concourse L, and first got to walk through it in April.

2018-04-27 16.51.53

With this extra expansion, my terminal silhouette was now out of date. With CLT (which I also recently updated for a concourse expansion) I simply edited the drawing; however, with ORD, I decided to use this as my opportunity to redraw the silhouette from scratch.

ORD Diff

I learned a few things from my new drawing.

First, I’d always assumed that the entrances to Terminals 1, 2, and 3 (labeled below) formed half of a regular hexagon around the passenger drop-off/pick-up loops, which would mean that the terminals had 120° angles between them. However, T1 and T2 formed a 115° angle, and T2 and T3 were only at 110°. This also means that despite my prior assumptions, concourses B and C are not quite parallel with concourses F, G, and H.

ORD Terminals and Concourses

Second, I was able to confirm that the two Y-shaped concourses (E/F in Terminal 2, and H/K in Terminal 3) were basically identical in size, other than that the arms of H/K were longer. I was actually able to copy and paste E/F to create H/K, with relatively minimal modifications required.

I still think that O’Hare is one of my favorite terminal shapes. The layout has a lot of instances of symmetry while still having each terminal manage to be completely unique, and it manages to fit a lot of gates in a relatively small area in a way that’s entirely pleasing to my eyes. I had a lot of fun recreating this silhouette.