westbank transforms san jose with a team of star architects
Westbank presents its vision for the radical transformation of san jose, redefining california silicon valley. Marking the global innovation scene, Silicon Valley has long focused its attention on the digital space, leaving its built environment largely overlooked. those who work in san jose spend too much time commuting from other areas, finding their work environment uninspiring and unsanitary. The team is pitching its new Westbank campus as a response to the city’s structure and how it fails its occupants and natural context – finally bringing the built space of silicon valley into the future with a collection community-oriented residences and workspaces.
san jose has long harbored the ingredients for smart, sustainable transformation, and westbank rose to the challenge. the expansive westbank 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 meets the city’s needs for affordable housing, a vibrant sense of community, and sustainable, high-performance buildings. The team is committed to introducing thousands of low-cost, low-carbon residences within walking or cycling distance of inspiring and designer new workspaces.
park habitat by kengo kuma
kengo kuma and associates designs its “park habitat” as a park on the san jose campus of westbank to hybridize the green park space with living and working environments. the design was developed to meet the urgent need to create residential and office spaces that embrace nature, rather than separate users from it. the project integrates an attractive public domain, a “green lung that breathes”, pockets of nature, a responsive facade and a rooftop park.
all images courtesy of westbank
Inspired by the organic condition of a mossy tree trunk, kengo kuma’s “park habitat” will recall the picturesque element of overgrown nature. the volume has green space pockets, sized to line up with a typical office module. these modules are mixed and configured according to views, light, orientation and function. the complex geometry is in fact shaped by light, its staggered and progressive volumes informed by their relationship to the sun.
bank of Italy by bjarke ingels group
bjarke ingels group will partner with westbank to revitalize the iconic bank of italy tower in san jose. the historically protected 95-year-old building has already seen its interior demolished and will soon be converted to become a new destination in the heart of the expanding city. the Bank of Italy will include retail, education, cultural club and workspace programs. The BIG design team seeks to approach the renovation project under the theme of adaptive reuse, expressing the heritage of the building while adapting contemporary ideas of living and working – resulting in a more dynamic hybridization of the old and the new.
The renovation of Bjarke Ingels Group’s Bank of Italy will avoid much of the detrimental effects of the construction process while introducing a new sense of vibrant community. by reusing the foundation, structure, cladding and roofing of the existing italian bank in san jose, the BIG team will avoid more than 6,000 metric tons of CO2. at the same time, the exterior will see the addition of a stack of cantilevered green workspaces that move away from the historic structure.
energy hub by the bjarke ingels group
Continuing its partnership with Westbank, the bjarke ingels group will build an “energy hub” as a second project for the san jose campus. surrounded by a network of alleys, the pole will be located in the heritage district of the city at the convergence of a residential and commercial zone. The team aims to maintain this fabric while introducing a porous and engaging mixed-use public domain. to do this, the density is shifted to the upper levels of the building, opening up pedestrian access at street level.
bjarke ingels will divide mixed-use programming into three main programs. with shops at street level, the “legs” of the structure will accommodate residential units. above, the denser top half of the building will be occupied by outward-facing workspaces across the city.
the residences of the orchard by james km cheng architects
the “orchard” will cover two separate projects on the westbank campus in san jose. the two massages will be organized to express a “bar and dot” concept inspired by a “billboard and a jewel on a tray”. the “bar” refers to a backdrop of office buildings with integrated plantings, resembling a vertical orchard. the “point” refers to a smaller residential building. While architect jim cheng designed the master’s overall vision for the two orchard sites, the workspace building has since been handed over to the WRNS studio.
the smaller of the two orchard sites, the residential “point”, will be designed by architects james km cheng. the work will introduce housing at 300 S 1st st. to integrate into the surrounding artistic district. the concept of “ vertical orchard ” is introduced on the urban site to celebrate the agricultural heritage of san jose. by integrating the vegetation in the roofs and facades, the vertical orchard not only completely replaces the productive land displaced by the development, but additionally contributes to agricultural production through the facades of the building.
orchard workspaces by WRNS studio
the next “orchard” site at the san jose campus in westbank will be completed by studio WRNS and will be fully commercial. the larger of the two orchard sites, the WRNS orchard will be the “bar” of the “bar and dot” scheme. the vertical orchard will link a neighborhood bustling with students and a vibrant arts and culture district. a single-storey market and a food hall will be surmounted by a work space podium divided between two towers. the pair of volumes will be connected by a podium with a large workspace on the ground and amenities above the ground floor.
the two volumes of orchard workspaces designed by WRNS are organized with an L-shaped configuration. this L-shape introduces a “withdrawal” condition to introduce a generous public square at street level. during this time, the connective podium is lowered to respect the scale of the lower neighbors of the building. the podium roof provides an urban theater usable by occupants and will host public events.
arbor by studio gang
studio gang is examining the ecology and geology of the san jose context by designing the wooden “arbor” workspace for the westbank campus. The project seeks to establish a new model of how a typical workspace can mitigate climate change by introducing a new ecosystem rich in biodiversity. the expressive wooden structure will filter the sun and sound and provide access to plantations and terraces that connect its users to nature.
Studio Gang designs an “arbor” to be built with solid wood to significantly reduce carbon emissions and the physical weight of the structure. the benefits of this construction include speed of on-site construction, earthquake resistance and fire resistance, as well as a warm atmosphere that celebrates a connection to the heritage of the san jose orchard.