San Jose, Silicon Valley
Urban Confluence Silicon Valley announced a competition to design an “iconic landmark” for San Jose, Silicon Valley’s county seat, and the USA’s 10th most populous city. The goal of the competition is to uplift the city by creating a can’t-miss attraction. As a nocturnal light element was solicited (and we love light elements), we got the brilliant light artist Leo Villareal to collab. We quickly realized that the park needs fortification of its desire lines — routes connecting pedestrians and cyclists across the rivers and through the park. And it needs programs to become an inclusionary oasis attracting both visitors and San Joseans. Many of the other proposals include an elevated perspective, like view towers that are popular in other cities. But the view of San Jose from above is not spectacular and does not warrant the inevitable waiting in line to ascend to an anticlimax. A plethora of paths weave around the new zones. More connections and scenic opportunities encourage more walking, more biking. The bridge connects the four corners to the center of the river, connecting the city to the ancient forces that have shaped the landscape.