The rail hub's 1960s concrete facade which overlooks George Square will be replaced by a glass frontage.
The taxi rank and its surroundings will be transformed into a 1500-space multi-storey car park, and the station will be connected to the expanded Buchanan Galleries shopping centre.
Owners Network Rail announced the multi-million pound revamp will be carried out by Buchanan Partnership, owners the adjacent Buchanan Galleries, the work in the area being funded by the Tax Incremental Finance scheme or TIF.
A Network Rail spokesman said: "The project will transform the appearance and facilities of the station to create a landmark mixed-use development incorporating both the current station footprint and the airspace above the current station car park."
It added: "The station concourse will be extended and redesigned to improve passenger circulation and enhance ticketing, waiting area and retail facilities."
Network Rail's route managing director for Scotland, David Simpson, said: "Glasgow Queen Street is one of the busiest stations in Scotland handling more than 19m passengers a year and the proposals announced today will deliver a more modern station with enhanced retail and leisure facilities for those travellers."
Mr Simpson added that the "exciting plans for the station" would help "generate additional revenue which we can reinvest in the nation's railways."
Plans, as they stand, include a mezzanine food court – essentially some eateries on a floor level above the main Queen Street upper concourse – new entrances and a direct link from the station to the mall.
Network Rail said work on the Queen Street revamp would begin in 2013 and end in 2015.
Some of the proposed improvements, it said, will be in place in time for the Commonwealth Games in the summer of 2014.
Buchanan partnership was named by Network Rail as an "investor partner" for Queen Street after a lengthy tender process that ended yesterday. But the deal is dependent on a funding package from Glasgow City Council.
The Queen Street project is part of a much wider scheme to expand its mall, but only with the help of £83m of public money under a controversial TIF.
The TIF project basically amounts to Glasgow City Council borrowing against future business rates for the expanded Galleries in order to put up the cash for public works the mall's owners say they would need before they could go ahead with the development.
And the council can borrow against rates only if the Scottish Government lets it.
Finance Secretary John Swinney's officials have already asked the council to rework its business case for what city officials call the "Buchanan Quarter TIF" after he sent back an earlier draft of their proposal before the Holyrood elections in May.
Any TIF to help Buchanan Galleries to expand, meanwhile, will almost certainly face a legal challenge from the owners of Glasgow's other big city centre mall, the St Enoch Centre.
A spokesman for Network Rail said: "We are confident that the development will go ahead".