Chicago’s new Morgan Station has been open for a month now, and it serves as a gateway to the city’s central Loop. There used to be an old station in the exact same spot from 1893 to 1948 until it was closed due to irregular use. Now that the Fulton District is making a comeback as an area known for its art galleries, boutiques and lofts, CTA decided to reopen the station. They hired Carol Ross Barney (who has worked on a number of other elevated station renovations) to design the sparkly new transit stop. Working with a tight footprint, the design team organized a lot of functional requirements into a striking and bold form. The new station houses are located at grade level at the corner of Morgan and Lake Streets to maximize station visibility and pedestrian access. Artist-designed bike racks on Lake Street provide convenient and safe parking for two-wheeled commuters.
Glass, polycarbonate, steel and concrete were chosen to match the character of the surrounding industrial neighborhood. These materials were also chosen for their sustainability, as many of them have a high recycled content. Many of the materials were also regionally sourced – like the polycarbonate panels, granite and glazing. Lightness and openness were high-priority goals that Ross Barney Architects achieved by incorporating translucent canopies, perforated steel panels covered with glass, and a glass-sheathed sky bridge. Materials were optimized for lightness in order to reduce resources and minimize costs. New landscaping surrounding the station is drought tolerant, requires no irrigation, and minimizes storm water runoff.
Morgan Station serves as both a literal and metaphorical gateway into the heart of the city and offers beautiful views from the platform. Ross Barney Architects were aided by TranSystems, Transit and Structural Engineer; LTK Engineering Services, Trackwork and Signal Engineering; OSA Engineers, MEP and Communications Engineer; H.W. Lochner, Construction Manager; and F.H. Paschen / S.N. Nielsen, General Contractor.
Images ©Kate Joyce Studios courtesy of Ross Barney Architects