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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GEMS Academy Gets Topped, Striped [updated]
Dec09

GEMS Academy Gets Topped, Striped [updated]

Word came in late last week from friends-of-the-blog bKL Architecture that its GEMS World Academy, under construction at 350 East South Water Street, has topped out. The 153-foot-tall,  82,000 square-foot school will be the home to students from kindergarten to fourth grade.  Phase two of the project is a 16-story, 254-foot-tall school nearby at 355 East Wacker Drive for students in fifth through 12th grades.  Construction has not yet...

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Status Update: GEMS Just About Ready to Top
Nov19

Status Update: GEMS Just About Ready to Top

Today, word came from inside the construction site of the GEMS Academy that the first phase of the private school is scheduled to top off December 2nd.  That’s the day the roof slab will be poured, as long as there aren’t any glitches caused by the weather or scheduling problems. Shortly after we put out word of the topping out date on our Facebook and Twitter feeds, Loop Spy Daniel sent in a fresh picture of the project,...

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Lakeshore East’s GEMS World Academy Inside and Out [Video]
Nov04

Lakeshore East’s GEMS World Academy Inside and Out [Video]

Friends-of-the-blog, bKL Architecture, sent over an animation showing off its new GEMS World Academy Chicago  now going up in Chicago’s Lakeshore East development. The video shows the Phase One building (350 East South Water Street) inside and out, including classrooms, gym, cafeteria, rooftop playground, and … wait for it … robotics lab.  When completed, the bKL-designed building will be nine-stories tall, 153 feet...

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Status Update: GEMS Academy in Lakeshore East
Oct29

Status Update: GEMS Academy in Lakeshore East

Just yesterday we were standing in the cold wind atop the retail and ballroom podium of Aqua, looking around and marveling at two things — First, how a tiny layer of stretchy fabric can make so many rooftop joggers believe they’re impervious to the weather; and second, at how quickly GEMS Academy’s private Lakeshore East school is growing. The first building of two is rapidly approaching maximum height, and its...

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It’s a GEMS of a Crane
Aug05

It’s a GEMS of a Crane

  Recently we posted a photograph showing a little stub of a crane sprouting toward the west end of the incredibly tight construction site for the new GEMS Academy elementary school at Lakeshore East.  Since then, it’s blossomed into a full tower crane with wide arms and a Crayola yellow paint job. A clever Loop Spy who lives next door at The Tides (360 East South Water Street) used his iPhone’s panorama function to take a...

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Status Update: C is for Crane
Jul22

Status Update: C is for Crane

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...

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Status Update: GEMS Academy at Lakeshore East Now Under Construction
Jun17

Status Update: GEMS Academy at Lakeshore East Now Under Construction

Lakeshore East’s controversial private school has broken ground. GEMS Academy is putting up two school buildings in the downtown enclave near the southwest corner of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.  The first, now officially under construction, will be nine-stories, faces East South Water Street, and is for the K-4 students. The second building, behind the first on East Wacker Drive, will be 16 stories tall, and have...

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What’s Going Up at bKL?
Feb25

What’s Going Up at bKL?

Over the last few weeks we’ve brought you a series of articles on three-year-old Chicago architecture firm bKL.  Today we look at the projects they’re working on in Chicago and around the world. bKL has been very active in Lakeshore East.  It is the firm that’s designing the GEMS Academy branch there.  Phase I will go up first at 350 East South Water Street, next to The Tides.  Phase II will go up at 355 East Wacker...

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Lakeshore East’s First School Delayed
Oct31

Lakeshore East’s First School Delayed

  The first school to be constructed in the blossoming Lakeshore East development has been pushed back. According to Richard Ward, the president of the New Eastside Association of Residents, Alderman Reilly has told him that the entire project has been pushed back one year. The alderman passed along this statement from GEMS: “In the interest of providing the families of Chicago with the best education experience possible,...

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