as part of westbank’s sweeping campus transformation of san jose, james k.m. cheng architects unveils its ‘orchard’ residences. together with the residential project, the ‘orchard’ will span two distinct buildings including an accompanying workspace designed by WRNS studio — look for designboom’s upcoming feature of the orchard workspaces soon. developed in partnership with urban community, peterson and OPtrust, the orchard marks the largest of all the first five projects across the westbank campus. sited at 409 S 2nd street, as much of the structure as practical will be built of mass timber, architecturally mimicking the rhythm of the orchards that once dominated the landscape of the santa clara valley, known then as ‘the valley of heart’s delight.’ in keeping with westbank’s broader initiative, the project aims for a net zero carbon footprint so that once complete, it would be as if the building was never constructed.
james k.m. cheng architects‘ vertical ‘orchard’ is introduced to the westbank campus to celebrate the culture of the neighborhood. the project seeks to amplify the character of its site in the SoFA district, an interesting downtown area with a vibrant art and social scene along with a number of performing arts centers, museums, and galleries. a quintessential mid-century restaurant structure stands at the corner of san salvador and S 2nd street, with an iconic folded roof and populuxe, space age-inspired elements. the orchard residential building adopts an L-shaped plan that not only honors the history of the existing roof but also maximizes the efficiency of its program. meanwhile, the building and its public plaza will create a new gathering place in the SoFA district, connect to the retail, restaurant, and cultural experiences through a plaza created by the L-shaped footprint.
the team at james k.m. cheng design the ‘orchard’ for the westbank campus to recall the agricultural heritage of san jose, weaving in as much nature as is practical. by integrating vegetation into the roofs and facades, the vertical orchard not only fully replaces the productive land displaced by the development, but further contributes to agricultural production through the facades of the building. apples, citrus, and cherries are among the possible types of produce that can flourish in the region’s climate conditions. the building expresses a distinct, patterned array of balconies and planters on its facade while a courtyard beneath a canopy of trees is introduced on the ground floor, providing both an outdoor restaurant area for the public realm and a shaded lobby greenspace for the private residences.
the electrification of the westbank campus’ orchard sets the residences up to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the long-term. all-electric building design is a foundational component of the project’s operational carbon strategy. at the same time, the landscape and planting palette will be designed to provide secondary ecosystem benefits for the community and environment. landscape elements will be designed to improve thermal comfort conditions, mitigate stormwater impacts and provide local food resources that can be consumed or shared by the residential community.
project title: the orchard residences for westbank campus
architecture: james k.m. cheng architects
location: san jose, california
landscape architecture: elysian landscapes