What was once an out-of-service power plant on Chicago's West Side is now humming with activity, energy and a new purpose as a community learning center and the permanent home of HFA: PHH
What was once an out-of-service power plant on Chicago's West Side is now humming with activity, energy and a new purpose as a community learning center and the permanent home of HFA:PHH
The Homan Square Power House was built in 1905 to provide electricity and heat for the massive Sears, Roebuck & Company world headquarters on Chicago's West Side. The massive complex was designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Nimmons & Fellows.
Largely hidden from sight nestled behind the massive Sears administration building, the Power House has remained an undiscovered classroom on the advancement of energy generation and distribution technology. Despite its incredible beauty and unique characteristics, the Power House through its disuse became a missing piece of Chicago history.
In 2006, Homan Square and Henry Ford Learning Institute joined forces to begin a new chapter in Power House history. They began by rallying individuals, corporations and philanthropy around a shared vision to create a solid foundation to transform the former Sears power house into a permanent home for HFA: PHH, and a source of pride for the North Lawndale community.
In August 2009, HFA: PHH opened to 250 9th and 10th grade students at the newly renovated Charles H. Shaw Technology and Learning Center, named after the late developer Charlie Shaw who worked tirelessly on behalf of the community. In August 2012, HFA: PHH honored its first graduates.
The $45 million restoration of the Sears power house blends historic preservation and cutting edge sustainable technologies. Original building features were retained to preserve a connection to the building's past. A geothermal heating and cooling system and other energy efficiency measures make the building a candidate for the highest green building certification.