BIG, Kengo Kuma and Studio Gang worked on the West Bank’s San Jose Master Plan | typed messages

Vancouver-based developer West Bank has unveiled plans for a collection of mixed-use projects in downtown San Jose, California. The development includes six new or renovated buildings by leading architects including Kengo Kuma and Associates, Bjarke Ingels Group, Studio Gang, James KM Cheng Architects and WRNS Studio. The buildings under the Silicon Valley Initiative will collectively provide 700 new homes and 5 million square feet of work space in what West Bank sees as an attempt to “inspire the next generation of innovators by creating a healthier, more beautiful community.”

The six projects combine a variety of architectural forms and are interconnected to respond to the climate crisis. Every building aims to achieve a profound reduction in CO2 emissions for both operational and embodied carbon. “What we are proposing is a collection of carbon buildings with a net life cycle of zero next to inspiring residential buildings,” says West Bank. “We propose a work area that connects nature and office space with one another in order to break down this barrier and ideally promote the greatest possible bond with nature.” The West Bank has a success story in working with well-known architects, as in our interview with Ian Gillespie, West Bank CEO explains.

Bank of Italy from BIG. Image: West Bank

Bjarke Ingels Group was the design architect for two of the buildings. The Bank of Italy, built in 1927, is to be converted into a fully commercial building with retail outlets at the base and above-average office workplaces. The interior was designed to restore the building to its original splendor while meeting modern economic demands. This is achieved through the use of original materials through reinterpreted applications. The developers estimate that reusing this existing building can save 71% in CO2 emissions compared to a new building of the same size, while using touchless fittings and intelligent cooling systems reduces water consumption by 40%.

The BIG Energy Hub. Image: West Bank

In the meantime, BIG has also designed The Energy Hub, a sister building of the Bank of Italy. The two buildings will share energy systems, parking lots and other infrastructures, while the connection of public areas and alleys will connect the above-ground buildings. The street level of the Energy Hub is activated by retail units, with the residential units on the lower levels and the work areas on the upper levels.

Park Habitat by Kengo Kuma & Associates / Adamson Associates Architects. Image: West Bank

Along 180 Park Avenue, Kengo Kuma & Associates and Adamson Associates Architects (local architects) designed Park Habitat, a fully commercial building with retail stores, above-ground work areas, and a rooftop with amenities. In view of the program, Kuma Park describes Habitat as “a nature-based approach to living and working in a city known for its innovative spirit”. The project will include a biophilic facade with vegetative screening, a black water reuse system and a low carbon passive design including a green lung at the heart of the building mass.

The orchard buildings by James KM Cheng Architects and WRNS Studio. Image: West Bank

On 2nd Street, a collection of projects known as Orchard Buildings will provide residential and workplace use. The Orchard Residential Building was designed by James KM Cheng Architects with Steinberg Hart and features a facade of vertically designed residential terraces above the retail at street level. The Orchard Workplace Buildings were designed by WRNS Studio, a fully commercial building with a high quality food hall / market and a work area pedestal with two towers. Workplace buildings come in a range of floor slab sizes to accommodate a wide variety of tenants in the Bay Area.

Arbor from Studio Gang. Image: West Bank

The last building, named “Arbor”, was designed by Studio Gang. Arbor will consist of an existing building (the Davidson Building) that will be adaptively reused along with a new 14-story solid wood commercial building. Jeanne Gang: “Arbor’s 14-story solid wood construction not only reinforces the idea of ​​working in a tree fortress, it also reduces the project’s carbon footprint by 35% compared to conventional structures such as concrete or steel. Overall, Arbor is making an important contribution to our overarching goal of a net zero carbon initiative. ”

Image: West Bank

The projects are being developed in partnership with the West Bank, Urban Community, Peterson and OPTrust.

Below you will find more pictures of every single project within development. All pictures are over West Bank.

The Bank of Italy / Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

The Energy Hub / Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

Park Habitat / Kengo Kuma & Associates with Adamson Associates

The Orchard Workspace Buildings / WRNS Studio

The Orchard Residential / James KM Cheng Architects and Steinberg Hart


Arbor / Studio aisle

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