GiGi’s Playhouse is an achievement center for kids and adults with Down syndrome. In 2012, Perkins+Will was engaged to enhance the model that GiGi’s was built on, creating a prototypical design and brand that could be easily replicated at new locations. When the Hoffman Estates flagship location outgrew their space, Perkins+Will was brought on to execute that prototype.
The playhouse was designed to meet the needs of parents, families, employees, tutors, volunteers, the community and—most importantly—the individuals with Down syndrome. All aspects of the design were thoughtfully approached to architecturally integrate opportunities for learning, achievement and inspiration. A central wood hub divides the space’s primary functions – tutoring, healthy living education and, of course, play. Individual learning labs support the multi-sensory tutoring approach that has helped so many kids succeed. Confidence is encouraged with the featured stage in the play area. The vibrant gym and pantry gets users excited about leading a healthy lifestyle. The new GiGi's Playhouse has provided an inspiring example for other locations and serves as a reminder of how design can improve the lives of its occupants.