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Henry Ford Academies


School Website:

Guiding Principles:

Partners in Learning; Public School in a Public Place; Workplace as Learning Space; Teaching and Learning for Authentic Achievement


A network of four K-12 schools that serve as models of innovation.

Design Features:

Learning Neighborhoods, Grade Level Commons, Learning Studios, Project Labs, Instructional Staff Areas, Multi-Use Spaces, Exhibition and Performance Spaces, and Community Based Resources.



Dearborn, Michigan

Inspired by Henry Ford’s “Learning by Doing” philosophy, Henry Ford Academy has been at the forefront of innovative teaching and active learning for 20 years, and developed four Henry Ford Academies that are each located within nonprofit cultural institutions.

The Henry Ford Learning Institute (HFLI) believes that powerful opportunities exist when public schools are located in public places. The innovative nonprofit organization, located in Dearborn, MI, has developed a network of small schools and hands-on learning programs located within, and connected to, prominent cultural institutions. With plans to develop up to 10 schools within the next decade, HFLI located its first school, Henry Ford Academy (HFA), inside the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI, and its second school, Henry Ford Academy: Power House High, inside the Homan Square Power House, originally built in 1905 to provide electricity and heat for the massive Sears, Roebuck & Company world headquarters, on Chicago’s West Side.

In addition to creating dynamic schools in unique spaces, HFLI’s approach also serves to leverage a wide range of local resources in the creation of thriving educational communities. Because the experiential educational philosophy of HFLI schools necessitates a totally innovative approach to facility design, the organization hired Concordia Architecture and Planning and New Vista Design to create a Design Manual which would help to guide the design of its new school buildings.

Intended for use by founding school groups, the architects they hire, and the interested general public, the 50-page Design Guide includes HFA history and philosophy, photos and illustrations, spatial diagrams and conceptual plans, a prototype architectural program, and guidelines for furniture and technology.

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Project Numbers


grade levels.





Project Gallery

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