CTA Cermak-McCormick Station

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Program: New Elevated Train Station
Status: Completed, 2015
Collaborative Partners: TY Lin International
Photography: © Kate Joyce Studios

The Cermak – McCormick Place station serves the country’s largest convention center and a stretch of the Green Line that has been without a station since 1978. The innovative design, a tube covering the platform and tracks, is the result of creatively working within the constraints: The station is to be built quickly, with a modest budget, without suspension of service, and of durable, low-maintenance materials. This portion of the Green Line runs within city blocks on a narrow right-of-way. Tracks could also not be moved and, as a result, narrow platforms would have to serve trains in an area with an anticipated growth in population and transit use. In addition, the client, the City of Chicago Department of Transportation, wanted a “gateway” treatment for this station that is anticipated to serve a high number of first-time visitors to Chicago. A resolution of the demands of the project — Low-cost, speedy construction, no track relocation, narrow right-of-way, and a memorable gateway – was the development of a tube over Cermak Road. Cermak Road is where the CTA right-of-way is widest and most visible to the public. Locating the primary berthing for trains over Cermak Road allows for views to Chinatown, McCormick Place, and Chicago’s Loop. The perforated stainless steel and polycarbonate tube performs multiple duties: Wind and rain protection and their supports are kept off of the platform, creating more comfortable and usable space for riders; materials are moved out of easy reach of vandals; and the station is easy to identify from a distance. Glass, polycarbonate, and perforated stainless steel are used to maximize visibility, views, and natural light in the station houses and on the platform. For ease of maintenance and durability, glazed masonry units and granite are used for the interior walls and floors.