Google is seemingly everywhere, yet it considers the San José, California area home. Inasmuch, the company has been in the planning stages to develop an 80-acre campus since 2017, and discussions have been in the works between the city, the citizens and the company. Recently, the San José City Council gave the go-ahead for Google to pursue its San José Downtown West Mixed-Use Plan, which is set to be the largest multi-modal transit hub on the West Coast.
The lead designer on the project, SITELAB Urban Studio, created a concept that is an extension of downtown San José, an area rich with culture and connections with nature. Rather than making a stuffy commercial space, the plan welcomes the community with a major transit hub and copious opportunities to engage with the environment along 15 acres of green spaces and parks.
Even with thousands of houses, 7.3 million square feet of office space and up to 500,000 square feet of retail, cultural, arts, education and gathering spaces, the 80-acre compound aims to achieve a net-zero target.
The approved Downtown West project incorporates nearly all-electric buildings and will rely on a microgrid to serve the area. It will host 7.8 megawatts of onsite solar generation and energy-efficient utilities to be shared between buildings. All of these systems will help to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Water-saving features are also part of the plan with an onsite water reuse facility and the implementation of a water recycling system for all non-potable uses.
The micro-community will be set up to support bike and foot traffic to minimize car emissions with the goal of having 65% of all trips be made by bike, foot, public transit or carpool. The massive project plans to break ground in 2023 but will be constructed in stages over a timeline of 10 years. In the end, the project aims to earn LEED ND Gold for the project as a whole and LEED Gold for all office buildings.
Google said, “Over three years we’ve spoken to thousands of residents and stakeholders to collectively imagine how Downtown West can contribute to the future of the Diridon Station Area and the City of San José. We heard a consistent message and request: create a community that has housing alongside jobs, that is part of San José and not a corporate campus. We took that as a call to action and are excited to share the fruits of our collaboration with the release of Downtown West’s Social Infrastructure Plan.”
Images via SITELAB Urban Studio and Google