The Public City
Term Fall & Winter (Year 5)
Professor Karen Lange
Program Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo — BA '20
Studio Studio 400/Senior Design Project
Site Moffett Federal Airfield, Mountain View, CA
The “Public City” is a publicly-funded housing development and park, with a number of cultural centers (museums, performance halls, fitness facilities, shopping centers) dispersed throughout. Through a number of planning and architectural strategies (irregular partitioning of the site, idiosyncratic building configurations, loose collaging of disparate elements), the Public City at once provides a diverse and sustainable social life for Silicon Valley and resists the threat of privatization by creating resilient communities.
The site is Moffett Federal Airfield - a decommissioned pre-WWII-era naval airbase which is currently owned by NASA, and leased by Google. Google and its subsidiaries mainly use the site as an airport, as well as an occasional product testing site. The scheme includes a coexisting of Google’s current activities on site, including private jet flights and storage, and product testing. The runway and hangars are preserved, but Google is forced to conduct their activities harmony with the regular citizens of the Bay Area, including those who require publicly-funded housing.
Every great city has its cultural centers and tourists attractions, but Silicon Valley is woefully lacking. The Public City aims to build from scratch a public, cultural identity for the city of Mountain View, and for the surrounding Silicon Valley.