Unusual tower catches the breeze to light up Silicon Valley
Defined by an eye-catching exterior consisting of 500 individual "rods" that will be illuminated as they sway with the prevailing wind, the aptly named Breeze of Innovation is a new tower envisioned for Silicon Valley. Assuming all goes ahead as planned, it will rise to a maximum height of 200 ft (60 m) in the Arena Green at Guadalupe Park and Gardens in San José, California.
The Breeze of Innovation was designed by Fernando Jerez and Belén Pérez de Juan of SMAR Architecture Studio and recently won the Urban Confluence Silicon Valley design competition out of a total of 963 submissions from 72 countries.
The project is centered around that unusual exterior. According to the firm, the building's rods would move in the wind and generate enough power to light their tips. Further details on the workings of the installation, including if it will light up when the wind doesn't blow, for example, aren't available at this early stage – the firm told us we can expect more details as the concept continues to be developed.
Though the exterior is meant to move easily, the structural center of the building will obviously require a bit more stability and it will host a series of spaces and walkways that offer access to a viewing platform up at the top offering 360-degree views of the area. The tower will also incorporate an exhibition space and a café.
"Silicon Valley is not about replicating the past; it’s about shaping the future," says Fernando Jerez. "Our goal from the beginning was to capture the ever-changing magic of Silicon Valley while also creating a deep connection with the San José community. This is why we came up with the idea of designing a dynamic landmark, one that is alive, moving with the wind and light, a magical space that includes a tribute to the San José Electric Light Tower of 1881. We want visitors to enjoy a unique experience on their ascent, connecting with the memory of the Valley while dreaming about its future possibilities."
You could be forgiven for assuming this ambitious design was purely conceptual but the designers are indeed trying to get the Breeze of Innovation realized. To this end, it's being submitted to the San José City Council for planning permission in May. Fundraising efforts are ongoing and as of writing, US$2.5 million has been raised toward the cost of the project.