GEMS World Academy is a private K–12 school in Chicago’s Lakeshore East Community. Comprised of two buildings that maximize a restricted urban site, GEMS World Academy Chicago incorporates a robust educational program, including state-of-the art technology in TEAL (technology enabled active learning) classrooms that facilitate collaboration amongst students around the world. The project’s design takes a unique approach to creating space for K-12 education in urban contexts, moving away from traditional elementary school design and instead modeling the facilities on the latest innovations in vertical urban campuses for higher education.
Designed by BKL Architects, the Upper School is a new 16-story, 211,500 sf facility located on Wacker Drive. When complete the new facility will house 1,440 students in grades 5-12 and reflect the same design and purpose as the Lower School. The Upper School was developed in conjunction with the Lower School during the master planning process and utilizes and unified color palette and architectural design standards. When complete, the for-profit school will include a digital theatre and media workshop, specialized science and design laboratories, 500-seat multi-purpose auditorium, library and media center, and open common areas the promote student and teacher interactions and independent study groups.
Cotter’s responsibilities include construction phase administration, cash flow planning, lease negotiation, site acquisition, and feasibility studies.
Renderings courtesy of BKL Architecture.