Westbank Campus — San Jose, CA

Green Mass Timber Towers

Aerial view of Westbank San Jose Sustainable Silicon Valley High-Rise Development
4.3M SF
Adamson Associates Architects
Bjarke Ingels Group
James K.M. Cheng Architects
Kengo Kuma and Associates
Studio Gang
WRNS Studio
Sustainable Benchmark
Net Zero Energy

Westbank will plant seeds of sustainability in downtown San Jose through a massive net-zero, mixed-use development. Westbank integrates primarily new-build alongside renovated high-rises. A unified aesthetic draws nature into design through green facades, extensive planters, and exposed mass timber elements. With its flora-forward architecture and nomenclature, energy harvesting, and staggering verticality, Westbank is a biome in its own right. The architecture counters conventional urban sprawl, setting precedent for a more eco-conscious and defined Silicon Valley skyline. Holmes is providing fire and life safety code consulting for each Westbank building.

Rendering of Green Facade at The Orchard Westbank Rendering by WRNS Studio

Concentrating modern workspaces and residences near the growing city’s key amenities and forthcoming regional transportation links, the sustainability-minded development could be the start of an urban revolution in the valley.

Nate Berg, Fast Company
Arbor Westbank San Jose Rendering Mass Timber High-Rise by Studio Gang

Arbor is a new 14-story mass timber office tower incorporating retail space and below-grade parking. With Holmes’ fire engineering, Arbor will rise as one of San Jose’s first tall timber buildings designed under the city’s new code provisions. Holmes will demonstrate to Authorities Having Jurisdiction that the building safely achieves optimal mass timber exposure through extra fire protection and mitigation measures. To bolster the case for approvals, Holmes will leverage industry research.

An active facade system will reduce Arbor’s energy consumption. Automated night flushing coupled with operable windows will cross circulate cool air, slashing AC usage. Mechanically, the active facade requires innovative smoke control system solutions beyond floor pressurization.

A new pedestrian bridge will connect Arbor with a refreshed existing building, activating occupant mobility. Holmes will chart new egress paths between the structures.

The Orchard Westbank San Jose High-Rise Rendering by WRNS Studio
The Orchard (Workspace and Residential)

The Orchard covers living and office space between towers scaling up to 300 feet tall if approved. Vertical orchards will stud the facades with over 1,000 fruit trees. Throughout Orchard and the larger Westbank development, Holmes is carving out paths to approval  for vegetation lining the facades and balconies. Holmes’ solution will likely combine sprinkler and passive fire control system design.

The Orchard Workspace situates two high-rises and more than 1.3M SF of office space over a common landscaped podium. Holmes is devising a code strategy to allow for an inviting, exposed mass timber gateway within a Type I-A building. Smoke control design will facilitate open floorplans for a marketplace and commercial offices with natural ventilation.

The Orchard Residential will yield an estimated 520 apartments in a 29-story L-shaped tower. At the ground level, fire and life safety design integrates and preserves the historic Bo Town seafood restaurant.

Park Habitat Westbank Development San Jose Sustainable High-Rise Rendering by Kengo Kuma and Associates
Park Habitat

Park Habitat is a mixed-use, 20-story high-rise weaving in commercial offices, retail space, and a museum. The building height steps down to meet FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) flight path regulations. Performance-based smoke control design will allow for assembly occupancy of outdoor courtyards and a teahouse-style trellis.

Holmes has submitted an AMMR for the green facade to meet design and maintenance planning requirements through extra fire protection.

The Energy Hub Westbank San Jose High-Rise Rendering by Bjarke Ingels Group
The Energy Hub

Concrete mixed-use building creates a mix of retail, residential, and workspace over expansive floorplates. At the ground-level a distinctive arch branches over a public realm. Higher up, Smoke control design will deliver open office floor plans uninterrupted by costly fire walls. Fire and life safety strategy integrates photovoltaic panels on the louvers and roof, as well as ample terraces.

The Orchard Green Facade Towers at Westbank San Jose Renderings by WRNS Studio

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