July 23, 2019 - What’s your idea for a new landmark in San Jose?

Sal Pizarro

The next phase in the quest for a 21st century successor to the iconic San Jose Light Tower has arrived: Urban Confluence Silicon Valley, a global ideas competition that launched this week.

“We are thrilled to achieve this milestone,” said Steve Borkenhagen, executive director of the San Jose Light Tower Corp., the nonprofit behind the effort. “The design is the most critical aspect of our project — and we are using an international ideas competition to identify the most spectacular design possible.”

A 26-page competition brief lays out the guidelines for a “transformative design” that includes dramatic lighting, an impressive physical presence and a net-zero energy approach. Whatever structure is chosen by the 11-member jury — a diverse group that includes artists, architects and a member of the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter — is expected to be built in the coming years in the Arena Green area of the Guadalupe River Park. (The contest’s name, Urban Confluence, comes from the confluence of the Guadalupe River and Los Gatos Creek at the site.)

The brief explains, a successful submission is going to be respectful of the environment in the riparian corridor and take into consideration both the birds that fly in the area and the jets approaching Mineta San Jose International Airport.

Submissions are due Oct. 15, 2019 — it’s free to enter — and up to 50 submissions will be displayed in a public exhibition in November. Three finalists will be selected by the jury in December and a final decision is expected in May 2020. Download the competition brief and get more information, including how to submit an idea, at www.urbanconfluencesiliconvalley.org.