After receiving more than 1,000 design submissions, San Jose’s landmark competition will be the city’s gift to its people.
A prospective design called Tower of Gaia
Although San Jose is home to a breadth of attractions, from vibrant art museums to the birthplace of Google, the city has lacked a focal point to symbolize its culture of innovation. New York City has the Statue of Liberty, Sydney has the Opera House, and now, San Jose will get an iconic landmark of its own. Last year, nonprofit organization the San Jose Light Tower Corporation) held a worldwide contest entitled Urban Confluence Silicon Valley in search of a design that would best complement the community, with construction slated to begin in 2022 and end in 2023 or 2024. With more than 1,000 design submissions from contestants hailing from 72 different countries, the three finalists were revealed Sept. 18. The final contestants were chosen by a jury of esteemed designers and architects including Jon Ball, chairman and founder of the San Jose Light Tower Corporation.
“We’re looking to create an iconic destination and build a certain pride that welcomes diverse communities throughout the world,” Ball says of the landmark, which will be erected in Arena Green at Guadalupe River Park and Gardens. Given that Silicon Valley is regarded worldwide for its technological achievements, he says he hopes that the landmark will celebrate the region’s culture of innovation by incorporating state-of-the-art technology into its architecture.
Noteworthy submissions include The Constellation of San Jose, which looks to the cosmos with its melange of towers. The San Jose Green Loop features an elevated pedestrian bridge whose swooping paths lead through lush gardens, seamlessly incorporating the city’s naturally abundant rivers and greenery with cutting-edge architectural designs.
Aside from augmenting San Jose’s landscape, sustainability is a prominent goal in creating the landmark. Zero net energy design principles will be implemented throughout building and maintaining the landmark, such as solar panels as an energy-efficient power source.
Given that the structure will be built by a river, environmentalists have seats on the jury to ensure that construction is eco-friendly. As one of the contest’s jurors, Ball is looking to establish the landmark as a driving force of San Jose’s tourism and create a cultural hub around it, complete with a transit station and a new Google development nearby. The landmark is destined to become an integral part of the landscape and take people’s breath away when it comes into view.
Photography by: Photo courtesy of Urban Confluence Silicon Valley