Jeanne Gang is a multi-award-winning American architect who is famous all around the world for her inquisitive and forward-thinking approach to design. Born on March 19, 1964, she is the founder of Studio Gang, established in 1997 and has worked on many American projects for which she has received accolades from the architecture community. 

Drawing insight from ecological systems, she creates striking places that establish a connection between people, their communities, and the environment. Her unique pursuit of new technical and material possibilities as well as in its expansion of the active role of designers in society has distinguished her as one of the leading architects of her generation. 

Studio Gang’s projects show a diverse range —  from cultural centres that convene diverse audiences and public projects that connect citizens with ecology to installations that challenge material properties and high-rise towers that foster community. 

In this article, we will look at Arbor, a modern office design in the heart of San Jose in California, USA 

Arbor by Jeanne Gang: Fluidity in Workspace - Sheet1
(Arbor – An Ecological Solution For A Contemporary Workspace)(@Studio Gang)

Introduction To The Project
Location: San Jose, Ca, USA
Status: In Design
Client: Westbank
Type: Office
Structural Type: Mass Timber Hybrid
Size: 750,000 Ft2
Sustainability: Targeting LEED Platinum
To Be Completed By 2024

Located in the north-western edge of downtown San Jose, Arbor signals the next stage of Silicon Valley’s evolution, by reembracing the rich ecological mosaic of the Valley. When questioned about the project, architect Jeanne Gang said that she was attracted to the project by its ambition but also because of its focus on social equity and climate issues. The building designed by Studio Gang is trying to push the existing limits on energy efficiency and environmentally sustainable materials.

Arbor by Jeanne Gang: Fluidity in Workspace - Sheet2
@Studio Gang

Design Philosophy

Before the mid-19th century, California’s Santa Clara Valley boasted of very rich biodiversity — a mosaic of ecosystems supported by the region’s geology, hydrology, and native peoples. But urbanization ruined much of its rich natural beauty, a change reflected in the popular name of the place in the present times — Silicon Valley. 

But thankfully, people have realized the many benefits of green space and natural systems demands. They are trying to find new ways to cultivate and reintegrate green spaces into cities while simultaneously reversing urban sprawl.

Jeanne Gang’s Arbor is designed to demonstrate how the architecture of office spaces can contribute to this movement in Silicon Valley’s largest city, San Jose. In an interview about the project and its implications, Jeanne Gang said that “the idea of an indoor-outdoor workspace and more fluidity between inside and outside, especially in a place with a wonderful climate like San Jose, will be very beneficial and makes a lot of sense for the climate of the area. It should be mandatory to have outdoor space.”

The new building includes and connects to an existing 1980s office building that is being adapted for reuse as a more energy-efficient workspace because the architect thinks that it would help reduce the carbon footprint. The design of the building will be flexible to help accommodate future possibilities. 

Arbor by Jeanne Gang: Fluidity in Workspace - Sheet3
@Studio Gang

Materials And Methods

This project by Jeanne Gang takes its name from the structure that will be developed as — a lightweight wooden framework that accommodates diverse forms of life and growth. The entire building is shaped to provide highly flexible and adaptable workspaces which extend into outdoor terraces on all levels. An efficient, mass timber structural grid along with framed and screened exterior cladding and layered thresholds will bring natural light and air into the interior. It will also provide shade and wind protection wherever needed to create comfortable and ideal micro-climates for activities like working and socializing, and also for varied vegetation. 

This building of 750,000 ft2 area also includes the existing Davidson Building in the neighbourhood. Instead of replacing it, it will be integrated with Arbor through the use of bridges, strategic openings, and a new cladding system. This addition to the upcoming building provides a link between the history and the contemporary and also the future, along with helping in reducing the carbon footprint of the whole structure and making it more green and eco-friendly.

Arbor by Jeanne Gang: Fluidity in Workspace - Sheet4
@Studio Gang
Arbor by Jeanne Gang: Fluidity in Workspace - Sheet
(A Natural Approach To Design)(@Studio Gang)

Environmental Considerations

Jeanne Gang has been described to have a signature architecture style that is philosophical and where she has ongoing negotiation with nature. In Arbor, she has attempted to use passive environmental strategies that work in tandem with advanced green systems, materials and energy harvesting in hopes of achieving a LEED Platinum level of performance. 

The timber facade panels used in the building exterior will provide shaded outdoor spaces for the offices while opening up to highlight storefronts at the base of the building. This usage of timber will create a dynamic structure for terraces, gardens, and stairwells with lush plantings and views of Silicon Valley. With its organic framework intercepted with living plants and a cascading topography of terraces, the architecture of Arbor will help in re-establishing the former richness of biodiversity in Silicon Valley.

(Sculpted Terrace Gardens With Painted Views)(@Studio Gang)
Ipshita Seth
Author

Ipshita Seth has been in love with words for as long she can remember and now that she's studying Architecture, she's found a new love for writing about designing spaces, history of buildings, construction technologies and everything else that comes with them. She has joined RTF to give words to her dreams.

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