Video: bKL Looks Back at GEMS World Academy Building One

bKL Architecture has posted a new video on its YouTube channel, highlighting the GEMS World Academy school building.  It’s the first of two GEMS buildings that will eventually be located in the New East Side.  The second will be adjacent to the first building, but face Wacker Drive and the Chicago River instead of Lakeshore East Park.

Screengrab of bKL's new promotional video for GEMS World Academy

Screengrab of bKL’s new promotional video for GEMS World Academy

While still one of the newest schools in Chicago, the building has been running long enough to be thoroughly broken in by the students and teachers who call it their second home.  Most of the press coverage to date happened before and up to the opening of the building.  This is one of the few pieces we’ve seen since opening, and is complete with slow-motion children and drone video, which is now required in order to publish on YouTube.

We receive occasional queries from people wondering when the second GEMS school building will be go up.  Foundation permits were issued a little over a year ago, but nothing since then.  It is logical to assume there simply isn’t enough space to along that slice of Wacker Drive to build both the GEMS school and the 95-story Vista hotel and condo tower next door.  We’ve reached out to GEMS to confirm, and will update this story when we hear back.

Location: 350 East South Water Street, The Loop

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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