Morgan Street Elevated Station presents a unique opportunity in the historic Fulton Market District to define the geographic centre and the character of an industrial loft area that is transforming into a multi-faceted neighbourhood. The Market is still identified by its sights, sounds and smells, and to reinforce this character the designers Ross Barney Architects, have chosen a material selection which take their cues from the adjacent buildings.
The new stationhouses have been located at grade level at the corner of Morgan and Lake Streets in an effort to maximize station visibility and pedestrian access. New trees, landscaping and artist-commissioned bicycle racks are located along Lake Street in an effort to soften the industrial character of this area. Wide, clear corners at the intersection improve visibility for both pedestrians and drivers, and state-of-the-art surveillance cameras have been installed to improve pedestrian and rider security.
Accessibility, durability, and ease of maintenance were prime functional concerns for the project. Each stationhouse provides easy access for passenger with disabilities to the platform level. Additionally, a pedestrian access bridge has been provided to permit easy accessible transfer between inbound and outbound platforms.
Instead of the typical wood construction for elevated platforms, precast concrete planks were used for their increased strength, longevity and ease of maintenance. Many of the station's surfaces are comprised of stainless steel ideal for continuous exposure to Chicago's changing seasons and road salt usage. Materials have also been chosen to permit visibility through the station and reinforce the feeling of openness.
The canopies above the platform level are constructed from translucent polycarbonate panels which provide weather protection for passengers and permit natural light to reach the platform. The lightweight nature of the panels also allows for easy replacement. The transfer bridge, elevator enclosures and grade level entries are comprised mostly of transparent glazing, and stair towers and guardrails are comprised of perforated stainless steel panels all in an effort to achieve this desired openness.
Sustainability was also a project goal: steel and concrete are the predominantly used materials, both consisting of high amounts of recycled content. Polycarbonate panels have both a high recycled content and are regionally produced, granite flooring was extracted from regional quarries, and glazing was regionally produced.