St. James Park

The Future of the Bandshell

When the city of San Jose put out a call for a redesigned public park, Jensen and Meyer Silberberg replied by linking structure and landscape.

Join the Band

The health of a city can be gauged to a good degree by the health of its public spaces, and San Jose’s mission is based on the conviction that bandshells, in particular, bring people together and invigorate communities. For the city’s design competition, Jensen partnered with landscape architects Meyer Silberberg to propose a revitalized courthouse square that does just that.

Connective Tissue

The design introduces a zigzag canopy, a spine of activities anchored by a café on one end and a bandshell at the other end. Jensen devised a two-sided bandshell, so that during the majority of the time, when there is no performance, the public could use all sides of it. The extant light rail line bisecting the park remains, but cars are diverted to allow the historic square and its period neighbors to reconnect.

Lending Shade

It gets hot in San Jose, and visitors to the current site rely on shade from the trees for relief. The proposed trellis—made of wood in the manner of a brise-soleil–expands habitable space with a sense of density, incorporating not just the performance space but a cafe, a public transportation stop, and a pedestrian walkway. The café, enclosed in glass, would otherwise share the same roof-column structure. An alleé of fruit trees recalls the agriculture once so central to the region.

Making a Place

The proposal, although not selected, expresses Jensen’s strong interest in landscape integration, how buildings and landscape work together to deepen connections to place and culture. This mindset is core to Jensen’s work, and with strong landscape collaborators like Meyer Silberberg we continue to implement it throughout our work.

Type
Cultural
Client
St. James Park
Location
San Jose

Architects

Project Leads
Mark Jensen
Emily Gosack
Project Team
Andre Vilhena

Consultants

Design Team Lead
Meyer Silberberg Landscape Architects