Silicon Valley is not the story of one, but of many: innovation through collective effort. We propose to apply this ethos to an urban Landscape, creating a monument to communal spirit and sharing of resources. Imagine extending the landscape of Guadalupe River Park vertically, so that people all over the city can orient themselves to public open space. Supported by a timber frame that sequesters carbon, this vertical community space bridges the natural and social realms, planting an eco-social seed that will continually sprout community growth, webbing the region together in a heterogenous relationship between nature and technology.
In a valley of orchards, a diverse community of entrepreneurs, engineers and academics built a technological archipelago, established around an ethos of open-source sharing and cooperation. This incubator of collaborative spirit created fertile ground for one of the greatest economic expansions in history. Like the catalyst for Silicon Valley, we need a landscape that ignites new connections between parks, conventional infrastructure, and social-urban ecology. In this landscape, our mission must be to support the fragile urban ecology, expand socialenvironmental services, and provide a forum towards an equitable community in a carbonneutral future.
Our concept, known as Plant-Net, is both an iconic monument and a functioning community space. As a source of inspiration, we looked to plant life as a model for collective living. Plants are profoundly communal, able to exchange nutrition, and transform solar energy into mass. Imagine extending Guadalupe River Park as a surface of trees that rises to the skyline. Imagine extending the valuable landscape functions to the built environment where materiality is both sustainable and positive for the climate. This urban beacon is a living/dynamic platform that nurtures social and ecological systems and ushers in a new era of carbon neutral construction.
Our site functions on four core ideas: Park, Work, Community, and Play. Built on sustainable timber, Plant-Net will incubate regional plant communities in multi-functional plots. These plots will sit at distinct levels providing not just ground biodiversity but also vertical habitat. From different angles of the city, Plant-Net will provide a picturesque view, while those within the site will experience likewise views of the city. In the evening, our structure is activated in an illuminated display that is both artistic and sensitive to the river’s ecology. Proliferating our concept beyond the site boundary, our plots serve different services to the region, such as: plantings adjusted to urban conditions, education and apprenticeship opportunities, wildlife habitat patches, and permaculture/community garden harvesting.
Plant-Net will function as an epicenter for the social and ecological resources we hope to supply to the city and region. We hope to establish a sustainability model that holistically bridges across different stakeholders and is adaptable to rising issues in equity while celebrating the people, environment, and history of San Jose. [SITE NAME] dares to reinvent the image of the 21st city by harmonizing the confluence of ecology, urbanism, and people.