GEMS Second Building in Lakeshore East Gets Cut in Half
Sep26

GEMS Second Building in Lakeshore East Gets Cut in Half

It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t like the GEMS Academy’s current schoolhouse on East South Water Street for grades one through four.  The bKL-designed institution fits in well with its neighboring buildings, actively respects the highly-curated slice of nature across the street, and fills in an infrastructure gap that was open for too long. As we reported back in July, construction is underway on the second GEMS...

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Vista Tower Comes Into View
Aug23

Vista Tower Comes Into View

The Vista Tower (363 East Wacker Drive) — one of Chicago’s near-future showcase pieces — is rising quickly along the main branch of the Chicago River.  So quickly that it’s already visible to passing tour boats. These pictures from Joe Zekas at YoChicago! show not only the Studio Gang-designed building going up, but also the column-free area in the center, where East Upper Wacker Drive will finally be connected to North...

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Construction Begins on Second GEMS Academy Building
Jul26

Construction Begins on Second GEMS Academy Building

Is it possible to start construction on a new school building in downtown Chicago without anyone noticing?  Yes, if you hide that construction in plain sight. The second GEMS Academy classroom building has begun construction on East Wacker Drive — right in the shadow of the massive 95-story Vista Tower going up in Lakeshore East. A formal groundbreaking ceremony was held in April of 2015, but construction is only now beginning in...

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Chicago’s Vista Tower Loses Its 83rd Floor So People Won’t be “Afraid for Their Safety”
Jul17

Chicago’s Vista Tower Loses Its 83rd Floor So People Won’t be “Afraid for Their Safety”

It’s not uncommon for a major construction project to change after it’s already started.  Look at Wolf Point West, which had its 43rd and 45th floor setbacks moved to the 45th and 46th floors, creating two more residences.  Or the Skinner West Elementary School addition which is gaining a floor, long after just three were approved by the city. In the case of Jeanne Gang’s spectacular 95-story Vista Tower going up at...

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Developers Detail Big Big Big Plans for Lakeshore East
Jul11

Developers Detail Big Big Big Plans for Lakeshore East

After weeks of anticipation, skyscraper nerds, architecture enthusiasts, and the just plain curious got the information they’ve been craving about how the development of Lakeshore East will end.  The answer: With an 875-foot-tall bang. At a crowded public meeting at the Hyatt Regency, hosted by 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly, architects and developers took the wraps off of two major projects: The final three skyscrapers...

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Lakeshore East Moving Forward, Losing a Skyscraper
Jun26

Lakeshore East Moving Forward, Losing a Skyscraper

One of the first long-form articles we published in Chicago Architecture way back in October of 2003 was a preview of Lakeshore East.  Back then, the only building that had been erected was The Lancaster at 201 North Westshore Drive.  The rest of Lakeshore East was dirt and weeds and a former caddyshack that still sported a small luncheonette that refused to die. My how things have changed. From the curvalicious skyscraper that put...

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Here We Grow!  Vista Tower Gets Full Construction Permit for All 95 Stories
May12

Here We Grow! Vista Tower Gets Full Construction Permit for All 95 Stories

The biggest thing to hit Chicago’s skyline since the Aon Center is about to become a reality. The City of Chicago has issued a full building permit for the Vista Tower in Lakeshore East (363 East Wacker Drive). Take a slurp of coffee and a deep breath and enjoy the OMG: CONSTRUCTION AND BUILD-OUT OF LEVEL 1 TO LEVEL 95 OF PROPOSED 95-STORY MIXED USE BUILDING Now just let that settle in… ahh. The tower will be the...

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Video: bKL Looks Back at GEMS World Academy Building One
Apr18

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. While still one of the newest schools in Chicago, the building has been running long enough to...

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Chicago’s 93-Story Vista Tower Breaks Ground
Sep07

Chicago’s 93-Story Vista Tower Breaks Ground

With lucky red shovels in hand, friends, financiers, politicians, developers, and architects held a ceremonial groundbreaking today for the Vista Tower at 363 East Wacker Drive. Perched on the grassy bit behind The Tides, the gathered dignitaries and international press could see work already well underway in the dirt patches on either side of North Field Boulevard.  The 93-story building being developed by China’s Wanda Group...

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City Issues First Construction Permit for 93-Story Wanda Vista Tower
Aug04

City Issues First Construction Permit for 93-Story Wanda Vista Tower

Just days after the latest round of soil sampling crews showed up at 375 East Wacker Drive, the city of Chicago has issued the first construction permit for the billion-dollar Wanda Vista Tower. Permit number 2727451 was issued on August 3rd and gives Magellan Development permission to start work on the massive road-straddling skyscraper’s foundation.  Specifically, it’s caissons.  Here’s a baby firehose: Address:...

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