The Luxury of Easy Maintenance

Terrazzo Selected for Chicago Midway International Expansion

When Chicago’s Midway International Airport undertook its most extensive upgrade in 20 years, terrazzo was considered to be a “vital component.”

No other flooring options were considered for the choice of flooring throughout Midway, especially heavy traffic areas, according to Steve Menconi, president since 1974 of Menconi Terrazzo in Bensenville, IL, the contractor who installed the floor.

“The ease of maintenance is always a luxury that terrazzo brings to buildings looking to combine the best qualities of form and function,” Menconi said. “A clean and polished floor is also very satisfying to maintenance and housekeeping crews.”

Breaking ground in October 2017, the LEED-certified 80,000-square-foot expansion and upgrade project contributed three new bridges to connect arrivals, departures, and baggage claim areas to the terminal. In addition, the widening of a 50-foot existing pedestrian bridge over Cicero Avenue to 400 feet accommodates an expanded and centrally located TSA security checkpoint and concessions spaces. A durable, low-maintenance, and seamless epoxy terrazzo floor was a vital component of the $80 million Midway International Modernization Program.

Chicago Midway Airport

The achievement of integrated cove–a type of base used with terrazzo flooring to create a seamless transition from floor to wall and eliminate the ninety-degree joint–was challenging for the terrazzo artisans, with gratifying results. Four-foot-high round or oval columns with integrated cove base distinguishes this installation. Seamlessly clad to the wood and steel structures, the 20 poured-in-place epoxy columns and the accompanying cove base display well-executed, smooth vertical work. Both poured-in-place and precast base, straight and cove, were used. Ground perfectly flat, the floors flow seamlessly into the coves at the columns. The four epoxy colors were formulated to complement the existing color scheme.

This functional floor was completed in 2020 in four phases, a total of 20 weeks in the fully operating airport, which serves over 18 million passengers annually.

The National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association (NTMA) awarded this installation a 2021 Honor Award. Impressive in scope and level of technical challenge, it earned the compliments of NTMA judges for excellence in craftsmanship for member contractor Menconi Terrazzo.

The architects on the project were Muller & Muller of Chicago.

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