Innovative “Urban Living Room” in Silicon Valley to Reimagine More Sustainable Form of City Living

In San Jose, California, the Westbank Campus will be a collection of innovative buildings by many starchitects who are helping to reimagine a more sustainable form of city living. The campus will serve to reinspire the residents of Silicon Valley and will be made possible by a partnership with Westbank, Urban Community, Peterson and OPTrust. One such inspiring project is the Energy Hub by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), a sustainable mixed-use tower planned for 35 South 2nd Street.

Described as an “urban living room,” this project literally opens up at the ground level to welcome the community in. The cut through the bottom of the building creates a dramatic archway defined by legs of retail spaces. The upper floors are mostly residential and benefit from shared workspaces, a rooftop, an urban park, an athletic pavilion that will all overlook the brand-new campus.

The Energy Hub is defined by a gently curving façade with thin horizontal louvers that makes the building feel porous and accessible. The system even expands to create balconies and to efficiently assist in cooling the building. Aside from creating a beautiful contemporary-yet-sustainable aesthetic, these features help the building to achieve its performance goals, which may be net-zero carbon usage or carbon positive.

BIG has designed two buildings for the Westbank Campus including the Energy Hub’s sister building, the Bank of Italy. With this second project, the team will adapt the almost 100-year-old Bank of Italy and modernize the interiors. The building helps to both preserve a piece of history and prevent a higher carbon footprint than if a completely new building was constructed.

Whether you love it for its interesting green design or its response to the local context, the Energy Hub is sure to be an incredible feature in Westbank’s upcoming San Jose campus.

Bjarke Ingels Group has designed an innovative Energy Hub that will support the Westbank Campus in San Jose.

Westbank: Website | Instagram
Bjarke Ingels Group: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn
Hayes Davidson: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Westbank. All images via Bjarke Ingels Group and Hayes Davidson.

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Samantha Pires

Sam Pires is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She is also a freelance architectural designer. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from NJIT and is currently earning a Master in Architecture II from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Sam has design experience at multiple renowned architecture firms such as Gensler and Bjarke Ingels Group. She believes architecture should be more accessible to everyone and uses writing to tell unexpected stories about the built environment. You can connect with her online at
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