Built in 1906, this massive structure was created to house the early pioneers of what is now considered Silicon Valley. Many travelers to the valley made this building their home while they built a new life in San Jose. When this building was damaged in an earthquake in 1909, architects were drawn to the rubble with hopes of creating a dream for many. With the help of local entrepreneurs gaining funds to purchase much needed supplies, the founding architects, William S. Strawford and Efran Smithers, rebuilt the building to what it is today.
The building re-opened in 1910 as a space for architects to design new buildings. With the amount of land available, new buildings were constructed close by. Not all of these buildings were sound however. As these buildings were practice designs, once they were built, a new architect would come in with a new vision and re-create a building to have modern features and include safety precautions for the buildings to be used in the future.
A unique feature also installed, lies in the secrets of outlying grass area. You will find caution signs that say “Do Not Step on the Grass.” This is not only for your safety, but for the safety and creativity of the architects housed inside the beautiful Tower. Stepping on the grass creates a disturbance in the Tower, which could mean hours and years of lost work.
While walking around and admiring the various buildings that surround the tower building, one might find that this practice is still in place. New buildings have been built in the last few years, and many have been modified to allow for upgrades as well as actual use.
Written by Sara Mueller, 2017.