Updated: Dec 10, 2020
Credits: HOTT -Hundreds of Thousands Tales
Luca Beltrame, Andrius Ribikauskas, Paul Van Herk
A landmark is a monument to the domination of landscapes: it is written in the name. It soars out of the ecologies that bear it, legible from great distance and singularizing the identity of a place by way of postcards and fridge magnets and guide books.
Landmark 2.0, on the other hand, adds to rather than subtracting from the biogeography of its site: the ‘mark’ it leaves on the land is inverted. It is not a singular and towering object but a network of heightened relationships and invited complexity. It is a social habitat.
Landmark 2.0 is a place of re-growth, of re-connection and of re-minding in San Jose. It is a monument to and of the ecologies and places that support Silicon Valley's leading voice in the digital age.
Rather than keep its distance from the Guadelupe river and Los Gatos creek, Landmark 2.0 aims to bring visitors right into the river as a confluence of social and elemental life. The river habitat is to be restored and improved, with wide riparian planting to stabilize the river banks, filtering waste from the water as it enters the site and facilitating new nesting and feeding spots for birds. The permeable canopy of the Landmark 2.0 provides sheltered micro-climates and habitats beneath.
The bridge structure of Landmark 2.0 is a self-supporting curved timber lattice with ‘surgical’ pillars and footings that minimize the impact on the riparian zone while being able to withstand periodic flooding. Timber has the lowest carbon-footprint, is lightweight and provides a nest-like warmth inside the bridges that connect the various pedestrian and bicycle approaches to the site. A dynamic lighting scheme illuminates movement within while shielding light pollution from outside.
Landmark 2.0 is densely covered with native Californian planting, celebrating gradients of color and texture that highlight the unique bio-geography that Northern California is blessed with. The hardiness of Californian natives also reduces maintenance requirements and ensures a perennial experience for visitors.
Silicon Valley is both a unique place and a global brand deeply influential economy in the 21st century. It is a key epicenter of a digital revolution that presents the potential for a ‘de-coupling’ of economic productivity and environmental impact, a feat by no means guaranteed.
What better place to site Landmark 2.0 then: every classic urban monument is aspirational rather than merely representational, and Landmark 2.0 presents a pro-social challenge and reminder of what many in Silicon Valley already understand -that it’s economy of ‘disruption’, systems design and innovation can be of the highest service to a necessary future of ecological and cultural co-dependency.