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Artist Sought for Light Tower Commission in Silicon Valley

Posted by San Jose Light Tower Corporation ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
Artist Sought for Light Tower Commission in Silicon Valley


San José Light Tower Corporation plans to build the most meaningful structure in the history of this hotbed of opportunities and present it as a gift to San José, Silicon Valley, and the world. Our idea: Combine the spirit of the Eiffel Tower with the breathtaking gift of the Statue of Liberty, add the possibility of civic transformation witnessed with the Guggenheim Bilbao, mix with the profound power of majestic landscape, and . . .

BUDGET:  $150,000 (proposal fee for each of 3 finalists)

ELIGIBILITY:  Anyone, anywhere

DEADLINE: July 1, 2020, 11:00 pm P.D.T.

Review full competition brief here.

***Note that the application process prior to the finalist stage requires the submission of a design idea. No compensation is provided for this up-front design work.***

Project Description

San José Light Tower Corporation invites visionaries, place-makers, architects, artists, designers, students, and dreamers to help define the identity and spirit of this extraordinary region, to reflect the breathless sense of possibility we all feel, and to propel the influence of innovation and hope into a world-class landmark. We want to bring to built life the visceral feeling of vibrant progress that threads its way through our beloved environment, while at the same time protecting the existing landscape in the midst of urban sprawl.

The competition seeks a transformative design complete with dramatic lighting, a net-zero energy approach, and an impressive physical presence that will become a powerful and enduring symbol of how Silicon Valley operates as a bridge from past to present to future. Urban Confluence Silicon Valley can be a structure, an object, a sculpture, a work of architecture—with an activated landscape enjoyed both day and night. We are excited to see your ability to absorb the momentous vitality that San José and Silicon Valley have always enjoyed and mold this energy into an iconic

About The San José Light Tower Corporation

The Competition is managed by the San José Light Tower Corporation, a not-for-profit organization led by residents of San José and other Silicon Valley cities who are passionate about downtown San José and the role that design can play in building community.

Although the idea for the competition was inspired by the San José Electric Light Tower (constructed in 1881 in downtown San José and collapsing during a storm in 1915), the competition does not seek a replica or re-interpretation of this structure. Submitters are encouraged to use unique
yet environmentally sensitive lighting in their submissions; however, all should consider the original light tower only as an inspiration, and not as a model for replication.

About San Jose, California

San José is America’s tenth largest city (population 1,035,000) and the largest urban center in Silicon Valley, fueling the imagination of the world as the global center of innovation and technology. In spite of these unique virtues, there is no defining artistic or architectural landmark in the region.
With a Mediterranean climate, a highly educated and diverse work force, proximity to world-class universities, and access to immense financial capital, the region is poised to make a design statement that both defines and connects its people. Anticipated growth in the downtown area could
include up to 14,000 residential units, over 15 million square feet of commercial and retail space, one million square feet of retail, and approximately 3,600 hotel rooms.

Artwork Location

Civic leaders, working with local government, have selected a site (Arena Green) within walking distance of Diridon Station, the transportation hub referred to as “the future Grand Central Station of the West”. Across the street from the competition site is SAP Center at San Jose, home to the San José Sharks of the National Hockey League. Each year this arena hosts approximately 175 events featuring world-class athletes and entertainers from around the world and attracting more than 1.5 million visitors.

The site is across West Santa Clara Street from the future Google Downtown West Mixed-Use Plan. The landmark will be located in a downtown city park, at the confluence of Los Gatos Creek and the Guadalupe River. The icon will be a catalyst for the reinvigoration of the three-mile-long
Guadalupe River Park and Gardens.

Find out more at the webinars and site tours link.

Artwork Goals

Embracing the theme of innovation in the advancement of humanity—this world-class artistic or architectural iconic landmark will serve as the heart of the community. Representing the region with prestigious allure, while creating a destination for people of all ages and abilities, residents and visitors alike. In community meetings, local residents have affirmed their aspiration that the icon should provide spectacular lighting elements and views of the surrounding cityscape from the project site.

The competition seeks ideas for activation of the site. Cafes, restaurants, bars, and other public spaces are allowed in submitters’ site plans and activation strategies, but they are not mandatory.

Subject to heights and other limitations outlined within this brief, successful submissions will demonstrate place-making strategies for day and night activities that include unique environmentally safe lighting elements. Entrants are encouraged to explore opportunities for public viewing
including automobile drivers on State Route 87 (east of Arena Green) and Interstate 280 (south of Arena Green).

Selection Process

The Competition has two phases. Phase 1 is an “open ideas competition” that invites eligible individuals and multidisciplinary teams of artists, architects, urban planners, landscape architects, students, designers, engineers, and anyone with a passion for place-making to submit ideas. At the end of Phase 1, a highly qualified independent Jury will select three finalists (individuals or teams) from the open competition. The Competition is anonymous. Entrants are required to omit any identifying marks such as personal, company, or institutional names, logos, websites, or email addresses that would violate the anonymity of the submitters in any of the submission materials. The only entrants’ names to ever be revealed will be those of the three competition finalists.

In Phase 2, the three finalists will each receive a $150,000 stipend to refine their project proposals. If necessary, San José Light Tower Corporation will help finalists identify additional project team members, such as, but not limited to:

  • Licensed California landscape architect
  • Licensed California architect
  • Licensed California structural engineer
  • Lighting designer/artist

At the end of Phase 2, The Jury will choose a single winner from the three finalists’ designs.

What to Submit

  1. Design Presentation Board File: Project submittals MUST contain one (1) PDF file containing two (2) boards with project information including the official Site Map Image (See Below). Your Site Map Image can be any size you like on the Design Presentation Board. Submitters are encouraged to submit plans, sections, and perspectives (renderings), but those who do not supply these items will NOT be disqualified. Submitters are encouraged to submit all the information in this presentation they consider necessary to fully explain their proposals. Words describing submissions are permitted on the Design Presentation Boards. The two boards must be in either HORIZONTAL or VERTICAL format. The resolution of the boards must be a minimum 300dpi and saved as one PDF file. There are 2” x 2” empty boxes in the upper right-hand corners of the two boards, which the competition will use for numbering. Submitters must leave these boxes empty. This PDF file must be named DesignPresentationBoard.pdf
  2. One Word file containing the Project Statement on how it addresses the Competition Design Objectives included throughout the Competition Brief. Your statement must be no more than 400 words. This statement or any portion of it is allowed to be included on the “Design Presentation Board”, but it is NOT required to be on the board. This file must be named ProjectStatement.doc
  3. One Word file containing the Project Summary. Your summary must be no more than 100 words. The Project Summary may be used by The Competition in promotional materials. This statement or any portion of it is allowed to be included on the “Design Presentation Board”, but it is NOT required to be on the boards. This file must be named ProjectSummary.doc
  4. Video Rendering (Optional/Not Mandatory). Submitters are permitted to upload/attach videos to their submissions. Videos MUST be one of the following file types: mp4, mov, avi, mpg, 3gp, flv, webm, wmv, mkv, m4v. Maximum file size is 400MB and maximum length is 30 seconds. For anonymity purposes, submissions must NOT contain any links. This file must contain the words “VideoRendering” in the file name.

Please Note: If any of your individual files are larger than 400MB, please contact for
further assistance.

How to Submit

Register and submit online only

Registration prior to submission is mandatory.



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