Diridon Station

May, 2009

Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Professor Rodolfo Machado

with Nilay Mistry

The New Diridon Station District serves as a new gateway to San Jose, establishing the city as the capital of Silicon Valley and offering a vibrant urban environment to the region.  The site lies just west of the downtown of San Jose, connecting the city, several open space river corridors and the new Silicon Valley transportation hub.  An airport north of the site heavily restricts the building height of the development, forcing a low, but dense design.  The plan combines a new transportation hub for Silicon Valley, a baseball stadium for a San Jose baseball team to complement the existing indoor stadium, a series of office typologies ranging from technology headquarters to incubation space, and a mixed-use residential typology that addresses the particular housing challenges of San Jose.

As a new threshold to San Jose, a planted pedestrian bridge connects the new Diridon Station to the mixed-use mat building and existing sidewalk network.  A heavily planted plaza leads from Santa Clara Street to the new BART station, creating an active pedestrian scaled environment between the existing stadium and the public transportation stations.  The plaza gently slopes downward to facilitate an opening in the ceiling of the BART station and allow for natural light to reach the platform.

The lush landscape on top of the mixed-use mat buildings allow for pedestrian circulation in front of entries to the residential units.  In the rear of the residences, semi-private courtyards offer seclusion within a bustling urban environment.  Perforations in the mat allow for light to reach the commercial and retail programs within the building typology.  The mixed-use residential mat typology explores a new conception of the relationship between living space, the car, and the city.  By housing the car in a tighter relationship to the living space, the different advantages of personal mobility and city living become available in one location.

Street trees and outdoor seating have been carefully sited along the retail on the site to enhance the pedestrian quality of the street between the two stadiums.  Additional street trees at pedestrian crosswalks and bioswales improve current stormwater detention practices on the site.  New trees are located away from the mat bridges to preserve natural light quality at street level.

The high speed rail station will be a new centerpiece of the development, handling the interchange of numerous modes of transportation including, high speed rail, national rail, regional commuter rail, subway, surface light rail, buses, taxis, cars, and pedestrians.  The station and its public spaces have the significant challenge of mitigating several sectional changes.  Pedestrian circulation from the existing street network is allowed to flow through the new infrastructure without hindrance.