Westbank unveils its master’s vision for San Jose’s comprehensive transformation that will redefine California’s Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley marks the global stage for innovation and has long been focusing on the digital space. The built environment is largely ignored. Those who work in San Jose commute too long just to find their work environment uninspiring and unhealthy. The team presents its redesigned West Bank campus as a reaction to the structure of the city and how it misses its residents and its natural context – and finally brings the built-up space of Silicon Valley into the future with a community-oriented collection of homes and workspaces.
San Jose has long been hosting the ingredients for smart and sustainable transformation, and the West Bank has risen to the challenge. The sprawling West Bank campus was designed by a team of architects including Kengo Kuma, Bjarke Ingels Group, James km Cheng Architects, WRNS Studio and Studio Gang. The development deals with the city’s need for affordable living space, a lively sense of community and sustainable and performative buildings. The team is committed to introducing thousands of affordable, low-carbon residences within walking or cycling distance of the inspiring, design-driven new workspaces.
Park habitat of Kengo Kuma
kengo kuma and Associates is designing its “Park Habitat” as a park on the San Jose campus in the West Bank to combine green parking spaces with living and working environments. The design was developed to meet the urgent need to create living and office spaces that incorporate nature rather than separate users from it. The project integrates an appealing public environment, a “breathing green lung”, natural bags, an appealing facade and a roof park.
All images courtesy of West Bank
Inspired by the organic state of a mossy tree trunk, Kengo Kuma’s “park habitat” will be reminiscent of the picturesque element of overgrown nature. The volume has green spaces scaled to match a typical office module. These modules are mixed and configured depending on the view, light, orientation and function. The complex geometry is indeed shaped by light, changing and gradual volumes determined by its relationship with the sun.
bank of italy by bjarke ingels group
Bjarke ingels group will partner with the West Bank to revive San Jose’s famous Bank of Italy Tower. The 95 year old historically protected building has already been demolished and will soon be converted into a new destination in the heart of the expanding city. The Bank of Italy will include retail, education, culture club and workspace programs. BIG’s design team is trying to approach the renovation project under the theme of adaptive reuse, expressing the building’s heritage while adapting contemporary ideas of living and working – resulting in a more dynamic hybridization of old and new.
The bjarke ingels group renovation bank in Italy will bypass much of the damaging effects of the construction process while introducing a vibrant new sense of community. By reusing the foundation, structure, cladding and roofing of the existing San Jose Italian bank, the BIG team will avoid over 6,000 tons of CO2. At the same time, a stack of vegetated, self-supporting work areas will be added to the outside, tapering away from the historical structure.
Bjarke Ingels Group’s energy hub
The bjarke ingels group is continuing its partnership with westbank and will implement an “energy hub” as a second project for the san jose campus. Surrounded by a network of alleys, the hub will be located in the city’s historic district at the convergence of residential and commercial areas. The team strives to preserve this fabric while introducing a porous and engaging public space with mixed uses. To do this, the density will be shifted to the upper levels of the building, which will open pedestrian access at the street level.
Bjarke ingels divides mixed-use programming into three main programs. With street level retailing, residential units will be housed in the “legs” of the structure. Above, the denser upper half of the building will be occupied by work areas that look out onto the city.
The orchard residences by James Km Cheng Architects
The orchard will include two different projects on the West Bank campus in San Jose. The two fairs are organized to express a “bar and dot” concept inspired by a “billboard and a jewel on a plate”. The “bar” refers to a backdrop of office buildings with integrated plantings that resemble a vertical orchard. The point refers to a smaller residential building. While the architect Jim Cheng designed the overall vision for both orchard locations, the work area building had meanwhile been handed over to the WRNS studio.
The smaller of the two orchard locations, the residential point, is designed by James km Cheng Architects. The works will introduce apartments at 300 S 1st st. be integrated into the surrounding art district. The concept of the “vertical orchard” is being introduced in the city to celebrate the agricultural heritage of San Jose. By integrating vegetation into the roofs and facades, the vertical orchard not only completely replaces the productive land displaced by development, but also further contributes to agricultural production through the building’s facades.
WRNS Studio’s orchard workspaces
The next orchard on the West Bank San Jose campus is being completed by the WRNS studio and is fully commercial. The larger the two orchard locations, the more the WRNS orchard will act as a “bar” of the “bar and point” scheme. The vertical orchard will bridge a student-activated neighborhood and a vibrant arts and culture district. A street-level market and food hall are crowned by a work area pedestal divided into two towers. The volume pair is connected by a podium with a large floor slab work area and amenities above the retail area on the ground floor.
The two volumes of orchard work areas designed by WRNS are organized in an L-shaped configuration. This L-shape introduces a “withdrawn” state to introduce a generous public space at street level. Meanwhile, the connecting pedestal is pushed down to accommodate the size of the building’s low neighbors. The roof of the podium provides a municipal theater that can be used by residents and hosts public events.
Arbor by studio aisle
The studio gang studied the ecology and geology of the San Jose context when designing the “wooden arbor” workspace for the West Bank campus. The aim of the project is to establish a new model for how a typical work area can mitigate climate change by introducing a new ecosystem with biodiversity. The expressive wood structure filters sun and sound and offers access to plants and terraces that connect users with nature.
Studio Gang designs an ‘arbor’ to be built from solid wood to significantly reduce both carbon emissions and the physical weight of the structure. Benefits of this construction include the speed of on-site construction, earthquake and fire resistance, and a warm atmosphere that celebrates a connection to the heritage of the San Jose orchard.