March 12, 2019 - Silicon Valley Wants a Landmark

Zachary Weiss

What comes to mind when you think of Silicon Valley? There are the impressive triumphs, the shocking scandals, that zip-up hoodie uniform, and much more—but no massive monument to speak of. Silicon Valley’s number of landmarks pales in comparison to other power-wielding hubs around the world, where the Statue of Liberty, the Space Needle, the Eiffel Tower, and other icons reflect their cities' high-profile reputations. Now, a select group of Silicon Valley citizens thinks it's time for a change.

Later this month, the San Jose City Council is set to vote on a measure to open an international design competition that will select plans for a new monument honoring the advancements that have come from Silicon Valley.

Given the area's 48-year history, brief compared to that of monument-filled cities around the world, critics have contended that any proposed monument is unlikely to enter the same collective consciousness as those elsewhere. Instead, it could put itself at risk of becoming a punch line.

What Silicon Valley does have is a trove of cash. The median home value in the area, according to Zillow, stands at $1,245,800, while the national median is just $225,300. And the area's dominance in the tech sector has long attracted blue-chip architects, such as Frank Gehry, Bjarke Ingels, and Norman Foster, who have partnered with Facebook, Google, and Apple on their campuses, respectively.

Silicon Valley residents have raised $1 million for the San Jose Light Tower Corporation to spearhead the landmark initiative, with more funding expected to arrive in the coming weeks. If all goes according to plan, and a measure is passed by local government, a monument could be constructed in the local Arena Green park as soon as 2021.