Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wednesday Wishlist: Rebuild the Electric Light Tower! (Updated)

Few people realize just how incredible and innovative our Electric Light Tower was. Built in 1881, it was one of the 50 tallest man-made structures on earth. It stood nearly as tall as the Fairmont Hotel over 120 years ago when San Jose had a population of 12,567. It was the brightest and most technologically advanced light tower to be built and required design innovations that had never been attempted before (much like what Silicon Valley does on a daily basis today).

There is also a very exciting documentary in the works right now entitled "The Light between Two Towers" which is being driven by Tom Wohlmut from WMS Media.  I had the privilege of attending a presentation about the movie and have to say it provides compelling evidence of a connection between the San Jose Tower and the Eiffel Tower. I was certainly surprised at what was uncovered by the end of the presentation and think most people will be as well when this film is released. We'll have a lot more information on that documentary as details are released (I'll post whatever I'm allowed to), but I can already say that the Electric Light Tower could very well be far more significant than originally thought.

While the idea of rebuilding the tower has been tossed around for decades, now is the time to build a landmark that truly represents San Jose's history and culture of innovation, diversity, entrepreneurship, and sharing ideas. The Electric Light Tower is the perfect physical manifestation of those ideas.

Now for some exciting news. There is a group of people with the right experience to actually make this a reality. What I need help from everyone reading this is ideas that can be incorporated into a modern version of an Electric light tower. Here are some quick thoughts to get things started:
  • Lighting
    • Multi-color LED Lighting (this is a must)
      • Imaging the tower turning teal and showing the score during Sharks games, or blue for Quakes games.
    • Lasers
      • Can be used for optical effects. Due to our height restrictions, lasers can be a way to make the tower look taller than it actually is or can even be used for concerts and events near the tower.
    • Holograms / projections
      • Few things look as futuristic as a hologram. A holographic showcase near the base could be an amazing display of technology by local companies such as LG as well as potentially providing advertising opportunities to help fund the tower.
  • Interactivity
    • Much like the lights on The 88, a new Light Tower could be dynamic allow people to interact with it. This could mean changing color based on interacting with nearby objects or by using an app on your phone.
    • Ability to communicate with sister cities via the Tower, perhaps using cameras and screens along the base.
  • Holiday Ideas
    • It can be used as a Christmas tree during December
    • Red, White, & Blue during the 4th of July
    • Rainbow during Pride San Jose
Please submit your ideas in the comments and I will gladly add them to the list above. Let's make this a reality!

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