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 is performing this work without disrupting the station's daily operations. While Berglund is installing the skylight above, an estimated 130,000 Metra and Amtrak commuters pass through the great hall directly below. To ensure our work doesn't interfere with the commuters, we installed a Quick Deck system below the entire existing skylight. This system hangs from the skylight's structural steel beams, so no scaffold legs take up valuable space on the ground.
In an effort to preserve the important historic features of the building, the existing skylight system will be refinished, reglazed and left in place. The new, high-performing skylight will be constructed five feet above the original and increase natural light by approximately 50 percent.
As a result of continued water leaks, the interior plaster in the Great Hall is also in need of restoration. Once the new skylight system is in place, eliminating the risk of further leaks, we will pivot to restoring 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.
Berglund’s creative team of logistics and scaffold experts devised innovative solutions to achieve the desired repairs with minimal disruption below. Early planning with 3D models was key to this project’s success.