The idea of the human energy from the urban living room and the concept of the project’s energy capturing façade came together and the nomenclature of The Energy Hub was born.
We have a relationship with BIG that has yielded some really inspiring work; starting with Vancouver House, TELUS Sky, KING Toronto, the Ser-pentine Pavilion, Union Centre, 720 Beatty and a few more still in the early stages. In fact, our entire initiative in Silicon Valley started with an introduction from Bjarke Ingels, so it was natural that once we were committed, we would let BIG choose the projects they wanted to work on.
After some exploration, the team at BIG was intellectually most inter-ested in the conversation between the Bank of Italy and The Energy Hub.
They were most intrigued by the juxtaposition of a historic architectur-al landmark in Silicon Valley against the modernity of a new building and the future of workspace. The many layers of this component of the initiative make this probably the most complex of all the projects. The design direction for this project started from a desire to celebrate the Bank of Italy, by drawing attention to its beauty. By attempting not to mimic but rather enhance this historic building, we hope to make it impossible not to gravitate to this block of San Jose.
While both projects will form distinct architectural moments on the San Jose
skyline, smaller subtle gestures of materiality and details will bring them into a conversation.
The second theme came from a desire to create a truly mixed-use project, integrating workspace, residential, retail and cultural components.
The third theme centered upon taking maximum advantage of the vari-ous alleyways surrounding this site and reflecting the fine grain nature of this block in order to respond to both the existing urban realm and new city skyline.
The fourth was to create an urban living room where all of the energy of the two projects along with the surrounding context will come together in a mash-up of urbanity.
Finally, consistent with the overall initiative, this project needed to further our efforts in achieving net zero carbon or even carbon posi-tive, and show both leadership and innovation in responding to climate change. I think it was around this time in our design brief, that the idea of the human energy from the urban living room and the concept of the project’s energy capturing façade came together and the nomenclature of The Energy Hub was born.
The result is a unique typology, shaped by its programming and an-chored by an archway we’re calling the ‘urban room’, which expands the public realm and connects two alleyways through our site. Rising from an oval footprint, two legs of retail and residential are connected by workspace above, with all components connected by a shared a rooftop amenity that will effectively create an urban park overlooking the city.
As The Energy Hub moves from schematic to design development in the coming months, this hugely ambitious project will continue to evolve. On completion, we hope it will become the centrepiece of this entire initia-tive; a symbol of our overarching ambition to create a stronger commu-nity in San Jose and help Silicon Valley achieve its full potential.