GEMS School in Lakeshore East Will Be Less Colorful
Dec26

GEMS School in Lakeshore East Will Be Less Colorful

Remember when the GEMS Chicago Lower School went up on the edge of Lakeshore East Park, and everyone gave it a big round of applause in part because of its colorful facade that was a tip of the hat to the foliage, buildings, and other elements of the surrounding environment?  That was pretty awesome. Then remember when the GEMS Chicago Upper School was announced and it, too, was going to be an interesting compilation of hues meant to...

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GEMS Upper School Gets More Permits
Feb12

GEMS Upper School Gets More Permits

The second GEMS World Academy (355 East Wacker Drive) school building in Lakeshore East has been given the green light to start another round of construction.  The City of Chicago has issued permits to start work on the part of the bKL Architecture project that you might actually see. FOUNDATION AND SUPERSTRUCTURE FROM LOWER WACKER TO UPPER WACKER TO INCLUDE UNDERSLAB PLUMBING FOR PROPOSED 13-STORY GRADE 8 – 12 SCHOOL.  CAISSON...

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Design of bKL’s Second GEMS Academy Building Gets Refined
Jan17

Design of bKL’s Second GEMS Academy Building Gets Refined

It looks like it’s full steam ahead for the second GEMS Academy school in Lakeshore East.  As soon as Old Man Winter gives us a break. The building planned for 355 East Wacker Drive, now going by the name GEMS World Academy Chicago Middle-Upper School, already has its caissons in place under the lakefront loam.  Word is that foundation permits are expected to be issued within the next two weeks.  Then, once winter abates a...

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Mixed Messages at the New GEMS School in Lakeshore East
Dec18

Mixed Messages at the New GEMS School in Lakeshore East

What’s going on at the GEMS World Academy in Lakeshore East? It was just last week that the school held a dedication for its “Upper School.”  The Upper School, to be located at 355 East Wacker Drive, is the second of two buildings in the complex.  It is designed to serve students in fifth through 12th grades. You’ll remember the bKL-designed GEMS “Lower School” building opened amid much hoopla in...

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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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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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A Second GEMS Ready To Sparkle in Lakeshore East
Mar25

A Second GEMS Ready To Sparkle in Lakeshore East

Phase two of the GEMS World Academy (355 East Wacker Drive) at Lakeshore East is officially underway.  Groundbreaking ceremonies were held Wednesday, as you can see in these photos supplied by friends-of-the-blog bKL Architecture, which designed both this building and the phase one GEMS building, which opened this past fall at 350 East South Water Street. The first GEMS building is an 82,000 square-foot technology and educational...

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Status Update: GEMS Academy Lakeshore East
May21

Status Update: GEMS Academy Lakeshore East

The vertical stripes are up, and the construction hoist is down at GEMS Academy in Lakeshore East (350 East South Water Street). Loop Spy Daniel sent over this photograph of the building’s south facade. If you look closely, you can see work continuing on the cafeteria level. But ignoring that, you can get an excellent idea of what the bKL-designed building will look like when it’s done in a few months time. This article is...

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A Look Inside Downtown Chicago’s Newest School
Apr07

A Look Inside Downtown Chicago’s Newest School

Downtown’s Chicago’s newest elementary school is rapidly approaching completion.  GEMS World Academy Chicago (350 East South Water Street) looks fairly complete on the outside, and if it wasn’t for the construction hoist bolted to the southeast corner of the building, you might suspect from a distance that it is complete on the inside as well. This GEMS is the local outpost of GEMS Eduction, an international  company...

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Status Update: GEMS World Academy – C’mon Get Happy
Dec26

Status Update: GEMS World Academy – C’mon Get Happy

The last time we posted a construction update on the GEMS World Academy (350 East South Water Street) in Lakeshore East, we received several inquiries about its exterior.  In spite of the drawings of the building that we’ve published here repeatedly, people are still being caught off-guard by the paint job. Technically speaking, it’s not a paint job.  They’re metal panels with the color infused into them so that it...

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