Right now there is a lot of good news circulating related to San Jose development, but once and a while I still find a real gem that surprises and excites me, and this is one of them. While Samsung is based in Korea, their subsidiary Samsung Semiconductor is headquartered right here in San Jose. They have decided to tear down their mostly 2 story campus, and build something larger in order to expand their headcount and presence in San jose. I knew there would be two 10 story towers totaling about 650,000 sqft, but I was expecting a pretty standard box like most buildings in the golden triangle (area bound by 101, 880, and 237). Instead, Samsung designed something that simply does not exist in Silicon Valley right now, a truly iconic office building.
It purposefully looks different and will raise eyebrows as people drive down North First or Tasman. There are at least two large outdoor spaces between the three 2-story pieces that protrude from the building. However, the really interesting element is a hollowed out core! There is a substantial courtyard in the middle of at least one of the buildings, complete with terraces of its own.
From the renderings it looks like there is a camouflaged parking structure topped with solar panels and an asymmetrical five-point building as well. I'm not sure where the second tower is going to be but I imagine it will be similar to the first. Lightrail is also across the street, the 49ers stadium and the Santa Clara Convention Center are down the street, and there are thousands of dense new homes being built in walking distance.
This building in and of itself is enough to get excited about, but I'm also stoked about the implications. Samsung is setting a new bar for office developments in North San Jose. This is going to stand out like crazy, so you can bet that future developments are more likely to be radical designs to compete with this building instead of being the same boring 2-5 story buildings the area is used to. More iconic and unique buildings means a stronger identity for San Jose and Silicon Valley as a whole. The only other company taking big risks with office design right now is Apple, with quite an impressive design of their own. Hopefully these two will encourage other companies to step it up and build something to be proud of.