Named a Chicago landmark in 2002, Chicago's Union Station was designed by Daniel Burnham and successor firm Graham, Anderson, Probst & White and completed in 1925. The Great Hall is considered the station's main attraction with its 219-foot-long barrel-vaulted skylight that soars 115 feet above the ground. Because of extensive leaks in the existing skylight, Union Station hired Berglund to construct a new, higher performing skylight over the original system.
The primary challenge of this project was performing the work without disrupting the station's daily operations. While Berglund was installing the skylight above, an estimated 130,000 Metra and Amtrak commuters passed through the great hall directly below. To ensure our work didn't interfere with the commuters, Berglund installed a Quick Deck system below the entire existing skylight. This system hung from the skylight's structural steel beams, so no scaffold legs would take up valuable space on the ground.
In an effort to preserve the important historic features of the building, the existing skylight system was refinished, reglazed and left in place. The new, high-performing skylight was constructed five feet above the original and increased natural light by approximately 50 percent.
As a result of continued water leaks, the interior plaster in the Great Hall was also in need of restoration. Once the new skylight system was in place, eliminating the risk of further leaks, Berglund restored the Great Hall's plaster, paint, and interior ornamentation.
Berglund's involvement in the project began in 2015 with initial inspections and trial repairs. From those initial efforts, we have worked in close partnership with the owner and architecture teams to develop a final scope of work and logistics plan. Our innovative use of 3D modeling allowed us to clearly communicate to the owner our exact plan for completing the work before any scaffold system was installed. This early planning set the project up for a successful construction phase.
An estimated 130,000 Metra commuters pass through the great hall directly below our work area. Our innovative use of a Quick Deck system ensures they can continue to do so safely and uninterrupted.