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Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence, 2nd Place

Rising on the site of the original Sears, Roebuck and Co. office campus, the Homan Square Community Center enhances its North Lawndale neighborhood through its striking visual design and its family-focused array of recreational, educational and health care services.

The Center, designed by Booth Hansen Architects, is a stunning building of steel and glass, speaking to the strength of the neighborhood’s past and future. An L-shaped single-story structure surrounding an open park and recreational plaza, the design allows for direct interior and exterior access to all the Center’s facilities, including a gym, pool, clubrooms, health clinic, family counseling center, playground, multi-media education center, computer learning lab, and community gathering spaces.

The glass and metal front of the Center creates an open, inviting façade, articulated by a structured arcade. The building’s stepped massing and sloped rooflines respond to the architecture of nearby single-family residences while screening the elevated railroad tracks immediately to the south. Dual canopies establish zones for public and private-sector programs, and a connecting trellis relates to Homan Square landmarks. South-facing clerestories and skylights flood the interior spaces with natural light.

The project was informed by a high degree of public participation, including an advisory committee that contributed to design and fundraising. With its arresting contemporary design and bridge between new and old, the Center has quickly become a new and beautiful anchor for the North Lawndale community.