Breakthrough - Family Plex

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America

The FamilyPlex is a 42,000 sf, LEED certified, community center located in East Garfield Park. The facility was designed for Breakthrough Urban Ministries, a not-for profit, faith based, organization that focuses on the challenges resulting from racial injustices in the Garfield Park neighborhood.

The program consists of a health clinic, a licensed daycare center, classrooms for after-school programs, a gymnasium, a fitness center for neighborhood residents, a meditation space and a community café and dining area.

From the beginning Breakthrough had a vision of how families would meet and interact at the FamilyPlex. This led to the idea of a community café where people could socialize while being able to watch their children, of different ages, participate in daycare, after school programs and organized sports. The building was therefore organized around the community Café as well as the “Breakthrough stair” which is a metaphor for Breakthrough’s mission. Within the urban context, the health clinic, daycare classrooms and outdoor play area form the front of the building creating a residential scale community destination, while the larger gymnasium volume is set back from the street. Both interior and exterior material colors were inspired by a combination of the neighborhood context, the Breakthrough colors and African American art.

Architect of Record

Built Form


Breakthrough Urban Ministries

General Contractor

Skender Construction


  • HBK Engineering, LLC
  • Wolff Landscape Architecture, Inc.