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GiGi’s National Achievement Center by Perkins+Will to open 20 October

On 20 October 2013 GiGi’s National Achievement Center will open in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Designed by Perkins+Will, the 10,000 sq ft complex will enable the incredible GiGi’s Playhouse organisation to expand on its current programme of free educational and therapeutic programmes for children and adults with Down Syndrome.

GiGi’s Playhouse was initiated by Nancy Gianni in 2003 when her daughter GiGi was born with Down Syndrome and she discovered a void in appropriate services for families in a similar position. When GiGi was one year old, Nancy opened her first GiGi’s Playhouse. Ten years down the line and there are now 13 Playhouses across America and plans to expand internationally.

Part of this expansion is GiGi’s National Achievement Center, where the organisation could launch the new GiGi’s university programme and train up and coming Playhouses. Architecture firm Perkins+Will became aware of the scheme and donated their time through a social responsibility programme.

A statement from the team reads: “Perkins+Will employees were inspired by the GiGi’s story and volunteered to help with design services. The scope was a prototypical plan for the Hoffman Estates flagship that could be easily replicated in other locations. To gather the most creative and unique ideas, Perkins+Will organized a design competition among employees. No winner was declared; instead, concepts from each idea were combined to create the final design.”

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