Construction Update
C is for Crane

GEMS Academy under construction

The Ballet of Improbable Engineering has wrapped up at the future site of GEMS Academy Lakeshore East Phase I (350 East South Water Street).  For the last month, an unlikely number of burly, yellow machines have pirouetted around the very tiny plot of land where this school will soon sprout, drilling holes, caging rebar, pouring concrete, and generally doing all of the things necessary to build enough underground caissons to support a nine-story school on land that was formerly a golf course, and before that a rail yard, and before that a spit of marsh, and before that a sand bar, and before that the bottom of Lake Michigan.

Now the beginnings of a tower crane have sprouted from the west end of the project — a sure sign that the rest of the building will soon rise around it.

This GEMS Academy building is a private school for children in grades K through 4, and was designed by friends-of-the-blog bKL Architecture.

GEMS Academy under construction

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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