The winner revealed: A look at San Jose’s new landmark

A worldwide downtown San Jose landmark competition is over – and a winner has been selected.

After a lengthy public process, the judges selected The Breeze of Innovation from almost 1,000 submissions.

Fernando Jerez, director of SMAR Architecture Studio with offices in Australia and Spain, designed Breeze of Innovation.

It consists of 500 flexible poles, each 200 feet high, that sway in the wind. The energy generated by this movement is used to power the building and light the sticks at night. According to the proposal, “the hundreds of wands represent the hundreds of different companies and individuals working together in Silicon Valley.”

Breeze of Innovation, designed by Fernando Jerez, won the design competition and will be San Jose’s new landmark. With the kind permission of UCSV.

The project is being built in Arena Green on the southern tip of Guadalupe River Park, where the river meets Los Gatos Creek. The Urban Confluence Silicon Valley organization, a nonprofit, funded, and solicited donation from residents and businesses to fund the project and give it to San Jose.

Breeze of Innovation includes a unique vertical space inside the tower with multiple walkways and an observation deck with 360-degree views from the top of the building. The design will also include a showroom and a space for a coffee shop, officials said.

“Silicon Valley is not about repeating the past. It’s about shaping the future. Our goal from the start has been to capture the ever-changing magic of Silicon Valley while creating a deep connection with the San José community, ”said Jerez. “For this reason, we came up with the idea of ​​designing a dynamic landmark that is alive and moves with wind and light. A magical room that pays homage to the San José Electric Light Tower from 1881. “

The quest for a landmark in the heart of Silicon Valley – a structure on par with the notoriety of Seattle’s Space Needle or Chicago’s Cloud Gate – began in 2017. A group of San Jose philanthropists aspired to create a world-class downtown landmark build it and donate it to the city.

First they planned to build a light tower in Plaza de Cesar Chavez – a 21st century update to San Jose’s original icon, a 237-foot-tall structure adorned with electric lightbulbs and built in 1881. However, the 2019 plan was replaced by an international ideas competition that gathered 963 submissions from around the world.

In September, the organization announced the three finalists in a live fundraiser.

Urban Confluence Silicon Valley has raised a total of $ 2.2 million for this effort.

“Thank you to the entire Urban Confluence team for their extraordinary passion, perseverance and good work, and for the opportunity to give our community the opportunity to embrace an iconic civic monument in the breeze of innovation,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement . “Future generations will never know what they have done, but they will enjoy this beautiful symbol of our past and future.”

Steve Borkenhagen, managing director of Urban Confluence, said the team was “excited” about the winner.

“We believe it was clearly the most outstanding submission we received,” Borkenhagen told San José Spotlight. “It’s beautiful and poetic and it’s going to be a big change in the landscape. We love the fact that it is in Arena Green which is really going to become the center of the city in the future. “

Land use expert Bob Staedler, who writes a column for this news organization, said that all big cities need inspirational art in public spaces.

“I think it’s great that a group of community members want to improve their city and wish them all the best in implementing such a complex plan,” said Staedler. “Ascetic, it’s enjoyable … from an airplane it’ll be just amazing.”

Contact Carly Wipf at [email protected] or follow @CarlyChristineW on Twitter.

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