The new GEMS Academy Wacker Dr. building: Is it really under construction?

gems wacker
the GEMS Academy classroom building on Wacker Dr. has been designed by bKL Architects.

Is it really under construction?

The Chicago Architecture Blog reports that the GEMS Academy classroom building has stated construction on East Wacker Dr., next to the massive 95-story Vista Tower project.

Only trouble, there’s no sign of any recent building permit issued for the project, which had a “groundbreaking” in 2015, apparently.

The Vista Tower webcam shows an area that had previously been used for staging construction as largely cleared — so maybe (says Curbed Chicago), this is a sign that something is imminent.

The Chicago Architecture blog says that GEMS Americas CEO Denise Gallucci made the statement that construction had started in a letter that found its way into the blog’s tip box.

Officially the building is called GEMS World Academy Chicago Middle and Upper School. It’s sandwiched in the space between the new Vista Tower and The Coast.

The new school’s design will be similar to the tartan of its cousin, the Lower School on East South Water Street, but whereas the Lower colors reference the trees and flowers and gardens of Lakeshore East Park, which it faces, the Upper School will sport a cooler, bluer color palette — a nod to the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, which it faces.

bKL Architecture has designed the structure.


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