The city’s Office of Economic Development defined a goal: to revitalize the Paseo de San Antonio, which links San Jose State University to Cesar Chavez Park through the heart of downtown, and to extend the pedestrian experience along Park Avenue to Guadalupe River Park. Park Paseo, the first CITIES+ project (a program of Public Architecture) completed by the City of San Jose, exemplifies the process and promise of the CITIES+ program.
As a selected firm, CMG undertook a process of discovery, synthesizing the city’s broader planning goals and engaging the many constituencies who use—or might use—the paseo. Out of this process emerged the idea of a “culture collector,” bringing together the arts, innovation and technology by linking significant cultural institutions along the route, including the San Jose Museum of Art, the Tech Museum of Innovation, and the university itself. To enliven the paseo and make it a more attractive place to gather, dynamic canopies provide shade from the summer sun, drawing in during the winter months and transforming into sculptural lanterns after dark. A generous tree canopy reinforces the seasonal transformation and strengthens the character of San Jose as a garden city. Park Avenue is transformed from bare avenue to verdant park, connecting the natural qualities of Guadalupe River Park with the city’s cultural center.