Dezeen Magazine

SMAR Architecture Studio designs swaying light-up tower for Silicon Valley

Breeze of Innovation is a viewpoint for San José, California, designed by SMAR Architecture Studio featuring rods that will sway in the wind and generate the power to light themselves.

SMAR Architecture Studio won the Urban Confluence Silicon Valley competition to design a new landmark for Guadalupe Park and Gardens.

Breeze of Innovation plans for California
Breeze of Innovation will be 200 feet tall

The studio, which is led by Fernando Jerez and Belén Pérez de Juan and has offices in Australia, Spain and Lithuania, beat entries from 963 submissions across 72 countries.

Breeze of Innovation will be a tower formed by 500 flexible rods standing 200 feet (61 metres) over the San José park.

Its swaying movement will generate the electricity required for lamps at the tip of the rods to light up at night, creating a shining attraction. The material used for the rods will be decided in the project's second stage.

Breeze of Innovation viewpoint for Silicon Valley
The viewpoint will be surrounded by 500 rods

A conical void in the centre will allow visitors to walk through the structure and explore its multilevel walkways. Close to the top, a viewing platform will provide views out through the glowing rods and across the valley.

SMAR Architecture Studio also plans to build an exhibition space and a cafe as part of the Breeze of Innovation project.

Interior of viewpoint in California
Visitors will be able to walk through a central void

"Our goal from the beginning was to capture the ever-changing magic of Silicon Valley while also creating a deep connection with the San José community," said Jerez, who founded SMAR Architecture studio in 2009.

"This is why we came up with the idea of designing a dynamic landmark, one that is alive, moving with the wind and light, a magical space that includes a tribute to the San José electric light tower of 1881."

Night view of viewpoint by SMAR Architecture Studio
The tops of the rods will light up at night

The electric light tower was a 207-feet-tall (63 metres) tower made of iron pipes and hoops that was fitted with arc lights to act as an early form of street lighting for an intersection in downtown San José.

It became an attraction and was later strung with incandescent bulbs before it blew down in a storm in 1915.

"We want visitors to enjoy a unique experience on their ascent, connecting with the memory of the Valley while dreaming about its future possibilities," added Jerez.

Breeze of Innovation by SMAR Architecture Studio
The rods will generate their own electricity through wind power

Breeze of Innovation will be submitted to San José's city council in May 2021 for approval.

San José is the largest city in Silicon Valley, the swathe of land in northern California where a large cluster of technology companies have their headquarters.

BIG and Heatherwick Studio are currently building the Silicon Valley headquarters for Google, where the Google Design Lab by Ivy Ross has already opened.

Images courtesy of Urban Confluence Silicon Valley.