GEMS World Academy Chicago

Project Summary

  • 12 stories and 82,000 square feet
  • Space for academics, specialized laboratories, cafeteria, library and offices
  • LEED Certified
  • Received 2015 ENR Best of the Midwest Award in K-12 projects

Project Summary

  • 12 stories and 82,000 square feet
  • Space for academics, specialized laboratories, cafeteria, library and offices
  • LEED Certified
  • Received 2015 ENR Best of the Midwest Award in K-12 projects

Unique Challenges

  • Utilized web-based systems to expedite communications with international client. 
  • Recommended a unitized curtainwall system to accommodate design intent and aggressive schedule. 
  • Developed logistics plan to accommodate restricted urban site with construction access limited to one elevation.  

GEMS World Academy Chicago

Client: GEMS Americas

Designed to promote academic excellence, the 82,000 sf elementary school is the first of its kind in the United States from the international GEMS Education. Located in the heart of the East Loop, the 12-story new building features state-of-the-art classrooms, specialized laboratories, multi-purpose room with climbing wall, full service kitchen/cafeteria, library, faculty offices, teacher’s lounge and rooftop play area.

Unique features include extra wide stairways for students’ engagement, hallway benches, and technology collaboration nooks. Southern facing classrooms providing park views and natural light. Classrooms for younger students have adjacent bathrooms and all classrooms feature adjustable furniture to promote group learning and large touchscreen connections to the international GEMS community.

The cast-in-place concrete structure is enclosed with a unitized curtainwall and metal panels system, supported by 31-89' bell caissons.  The enclosure features a multi-color “barcode” design helping distinguish the building from adjacent multi-family towers. Other features include a lift slab floating floor system in the multi-purpose room and an over-sized elevator for large student groups.  An efficient mechanical system integrates chilled water from an existing district central plant, eliminating the need for a dedicated building chiller and increasing the usable program space. 

Unique Challenges

  • Utilized web-based systems to expedite communications with international client. 
  • Recommended a unitized curtainwall system to accommodate design intent and aggressive schedule. 
  • Developed logistics plan to accommodate restricted urban site with construction access limited to one elevation.  

The First in the United States

Project Highlights

Engaged prior to SD, facilitated early O/A teaming meetings to establish Basis of Design and Target Budget.

In-house quality specialists reviewed enclosure design and MEP systems for fast-track early fabrication.

Mock ups of unique enclosure and interior design details confirmed design intent and constructability. 

Located adjacent to 5,000 residences, site safety plan featured sidewalk canopies, designated delivery routes/times and restricted work hours.

 

Advanced technology, including large Mondopad touchscreens promote interconnectivity with GEMS facilities around the world.
Design-assist approach to unitized curtainwall system facilitated a time and cost-effective solution.
Urban site with limited access required sophisticated logistics plan.
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