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Old Posted May 3, 2014, 9:49 PM
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San Jose - Downtown - Part 1

San Jose is the 10th largest city in the United States by population (980,000) and the 48th largest city in the United States by size (176.5 square miles). It is the largest of the three major cities in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Combined Statistical Area in Northern California (the 5th largest metro area in the United States). It is about 40 miles South of San Francisco and Oakland. As such, its downtown could be expected to be more impressive than it actually is. However it is still a pleasant downtown, largely composed of contemporary mid-sized architecture and scattered historic buildings. Several human-scaled pedestrian alleys and streetscapes served by light rail form its spine, a few multiple-block parks provide green spaces, and a small developed creek corridor lines one side. Building heights are limited due to the nearby airport's flight path, and the downtown's ability to expand is mostly limited by existing development features on all sides, so its potential to become more impressive lies in careful infill of the remaining 20% (my 'guesstimate') of land currently occupied by parking lots or vacant lots.

This thread will focus on streetscapes, historic buildings, and mid-to-late 20th century buildings. Part 2 will focus on contemporary buildings and the Guadalupe River Park, and can be seen here: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...37#post6564137

Skyline:
This photograph is taken from the top of San Jose City Hall, featured in Part 2:



St. James Park:
This historic park occupies 2 city blocks near the North end of downtown.



San Carlos Street:



Almaden Boulevard:



South 1st Street:



1st and 2nd Streets:
The area's light rail line runs South on 1st Street and North on 2nd Street through most of downtown's busiest pedestrian area.

















Market Street:



San Jose Museum of Art:
The older building of this complex was built in 1892 as the post office for the city. It was joined by a modern building in 1991, pictured later.





Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, 1877:





More historic buildings:











































































San Jose Center for the Performing Arts:
This was opened in 1972, designed by Taliesin Associated Architects.















Mid-to-late 20th century office buildings:
For a city that grew rapidly in the 1950's and 60's, there are surprisingly few international style office buildings, but there are more from the 70's and 80's evolving into the postmodern era that extended into the 90's.























Plaza de Cesar Chavez area:
A two-block park occupies an oval where Market Street splits around its perimeter. A few pedestrian plazas/alleys connect it to the busy 1st and 2nd streets featured earlier. The San Jose Museum of Art's 1991 addition and the two separate towers of the Fairmont Hotel delineate the two plazas/alleys on one side of the park.



















The Tech Museum of Innovation:
This museum is across the street from Plaza de Cesar Chavez and is one of a pair of museums in the city designed by Ricardo Legoretta, this one opening in 1998.













Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose:
This museum from 1990 was also designed by Ricardo Legoretta and is located in the Guadalupe River Park with its own light rail stop.



















San Jose Repertory Theater:
This hunk of junk from 1997 is unfortunately located on a prime site on one side of a pedestrian alley between the busy 1st and 2nd street corridors in the heart of downtown.





All photographs taken in 2013 (except a few from 2007) by geomorph.

Last edited by geomorph; May 4, 2014 at 4:37 AM.
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  #2  
Old Posted May 4, 2014, 2:40 AM
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Hey that's much better than I expected, to be honest. Good stuff, thanks for that. So what do you think the future holds for San Jose, urbanism-wise?
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Old Posted May 4, 2014, 3:24 AM
FutureNorthEnder FutureNorthEnder is offline
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I used to live and work in San Jose back in the '80's. Looks like it has improved since then. Nice pictures.
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Old Posted May 4, 2014, 5:12 AM
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Nice to see San Jose on the forum.

I was part of a big bike ride in San Jose last weekend--there are currently a ton of new buildings under construction downtown.
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Old Posted May 5, 2014, 12:28 AM
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I snapped some photos up there a few weeks ago. Not alot to do, but it seems like there are a few decent disparate parts that just need a little cohesion.
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Old Posted May 5, 2014, 4:47 AM
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Nice overview of the more historic parts of downtown, geomorph. It's a pleasant area and I think you've captured that. Thanks for including some shots of my alma mater too.
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Old Posted May 5, 2014, 6:24 AM
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Nice pics & looks like a very well kept up city.
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Old Posted May 5, 2014, 9:00 AM
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I always got annoyed when people would leave this type of comment, but in this case, for a successful city of nearly 1 million people with a downtown so well-kept with seemingly all the working parts of a successful city center and not riddled with giant surface lots, it seems incredibly and unusually underused.
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Old Posted May 5, 2014, 3:29 PM
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Great tour. Looks like a pretty nice downtown. The one thing I don't get is why DT SJ isn't blowing up with Vancouver/Toronto or at least Seattle-level high rise residential development? This is one of the most expensive housing markets in one of the strongest economies on the planet. Looks to have some nice new infill, but by all rights this should be crane city.
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Old Posted May 5, 2014, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpdivola View Post
Great tour. Looks like a pretty nice downtown. The one thing I don't get is why DT SJ isn't blowing up with Vancouver/Toronto or at least Seattle-level high rise residential development? This is one of the most expensive housing markets in one of the strongest economies on the planet. Looks to have some nice new infill, but by all rights this should be crane city.
There are indeed several cranes over downtown SJ right now--these photos are at least a year old.

As for skyscrapers in downtown SJ, that's not possible. The nearby airport flightpath keeps all buildings under about 260'--airliners literally fly right over downtown San Jose.
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Old Posted May 6, 2014, 2:48 AM
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Great shots. I think they have done a good job cleaning up and really preparing downtown SJ for more development. For those that know the San Jose of the 80s, its light years ahead. With the economic engine in the Bay Area, I can see San Jose booming in the future. Id love to see a dense mid rise building and population core.
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Old Posted May 6, 2014, 4:57 AM
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Nice pictures! There's some nice buildings in San Jose.
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Old Posted May 6, 2014, 11:33 AM
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Smile

Thanks for this tour about San Jose. Great shots!

I like the mixture between colonial and modern architecture in San Jose. Many buildings are really nice, like the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph. I see San Jose has much to see.

Congrats and greetings from Madrid, Spain.
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Old Posted May 6, 2014, 6:47 PM
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Looks like a nice clean comfortable downtown.
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Old Posted May 10, 2015, 4:24 PM
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i don't know much about San jose, exept the Sharks(NHL).thanks for sharing.
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  #16  
Old Posted Feb 27, 2018, 1:35 AM
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Thanks for the compliments from the past, I'm late in reply. Has anyone seen any of the new construction that was underway when this thread was newer?
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Old Posted Feb 27, 2018, 2:39 AM
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Beautiful
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