Guadalupe River Park Visitors Center

San Jose, CA, 2007

Architect: Peter Pfau

Located on the Guadalupe River, this project includes design for a new environmentally sensitive park visitors’ center. The site is just under 5 ½ acres, and serves the adjacent 400 acre Guadalupe River Park and Gardens, which is the major civic park and flood control system for downtown San Jose. The visitor center additions include outdoor terraces, outdoor classroom amphitheater, children’s garden and playground, and open space gathering areas. 

The design features a number of sustainable elements which communicate the center’s ecological values. Bioswales and a wet meadow work to restore ground-water levels on the site, while wind turbines are planned to provide power for the center. A new architectural canopy at the entrance to the Visitor’s Center is designed to shelter outdoor interpretive materials about the park. Solar panels above the canopy generate electricity and shade visitors in the summer. A new skin of vines on the building exterior reduces the building’s solar gain, increasing its energy efficiency.