silicon valley

Urban Confluence Silicon Valley Competition

Submission: October 15, 2019
Registration: October 15, 2019
Language: English
Location: Silicon Valley, USA
Prizes: Please see details below
Type: Open


In the gateway of Silicon Valley, at the confluence of two rivers, the world connects. San José Light Tower Corporation plans to build the most meaningful structure in the history of this hotbed of opportunities and present it as a gift to San José, Silicon Valley, and the world. 

Our idea: 
Combine the spirit of the Eiffel Tower with the breathtaking gift of the Statue of Liberty, add the possibility of civic transformation witnessed with the Guggenheim Bilbao, mix with the profound power of majestic landscape. Think extraordinary illumination, a passion for place-making, harmony with nature. This is the design opportunity of a lifetime, and we are thrilled to invite you to work with us to create an icon that produces an urban identity for this unique valley of possibility.

The competition is open; the desires are clear. The only requirement is passion to create a must-see landmark that will enhance community life in America’s tenth largest city while reflecting the extraordinary legacy of this remarkable global center of life-changing thought. The competition seeks a transformative design complete with dramatic lighting, a net-zero energy approach, and an impressive physical presence that will become a powerful and enduring symbol of how Silicon Valley operates as a bridge from past to present to future. Urban Confluence Silicon Valley can be a structure, an object, a sculpture, a work of architecture—with an activated landscape enjoyed both day and night.

The Competition is managed by the San José Light Tower Corporation, a not-for-profit organization led by residents of San José and other Silicon Valley cities who are passionate about downtown San José and the role that design can play in building community. Through exceptional fundraising efforts and relationship building, this group has developed a strong working partnership with local government and philanthropy.

Although the idea for the competition was inspired by the San José Electric Light Tower (constructed in 1881 in downtown San José and collapsing during a storm in 1915), the competition does not seek a replica or re-interpretation of this structure. Submitters are encouraged to use unique yet environmentally sensitive lighting in their submissions; however, all should consider the original light tower only as an inspiration, and not as a model for replication.

The Competition has two phases. Phase 1 is an “open competition” that invites individuals and teams of artists, architects, urban planners, landscape architects, students, designers, engineers, and anyone with a passion for place-making to submit ideas.

A highly qualified independent Jury of eleven will select three finalists (individuals or teams) from the open competition. In Phase 2, the three finalists will receive a stipend of $150,000 each to refine their proposals. The Jury will choose a single winner from the three finalists’ designs.

Competition Objectives and Evaluation Criteria 
Submissions should respond to these design provocations:

• Create an iconic destination that builds civic pride and welcomes diverse communities from throughout the world?
• Celebrate the culture of innovation of the region?
• Invoke net-zero energy design principles in the design of the site?
• Establish a strong visual presence during the day, at night, and at a distance?
• Demonstrate respect for the environment within the Los Gatos Creek/Guadalupe River area while using environmentally sensitive unique lighting? (subject to limitations described in Resources for Submitters)

All are welcome to submit.

Important Dates and Other Information
Submitters should view the Urban Confluence Silicon Valley website for the overall competition schedule including dates and times of optional webinar and optional site visit. Video of these events will be available on the website.

Deadline: All entries must be submitted digitally by 1:00PM PST on October 15, 2019. Late or incomplete entries will not be accepted.

  1. Two renderings (images) of proposed design.
  2. Short (100 word) project summary for promotional use and distribution.
  3. Names of submitter(s), short bio(s), and contact information. Note: Members of the Community Competition Panel and The Jury will NOT know the names of any creators of submittals during Phase 1.
  4. Design Presentation Board File. The Design Presentation Board includes a 200-400 word summary of concept and design approach for the design and the site, including a description of the ways the design meets the design objectives of the competition.

Go to the competition’s website