Project Architect with Rapt Studio
1 North First
100K SF redevelopment by Lift Partners in downtown San Jose

The project transforms a former JC Penney department store in the heart of downtown San Jose, stripping off years of accreted curtain wall and revealing the board-formed concrete structure within. When the building was originally constructed, only the first floor had windows – over time a hodgepodge of openings were cut without any concerted program. In the late 1980s, an indoor atrium was added.

The current project unifies the building and renders the formerly interior courtyard exterior. This strategy allows for a great deal of natural light and air to circulate into the center of the building, while at the same time avoiding costly smoke control atrium provisions that would be required during an upgrade.

The historic wood ceilings are revealed and portions of the second floor, added in the 1960s, are removed to create a dynamic set of multi-level spaces to house a fitness facility, a wood-fired pizza restaurant, and an informal coffee shop in addition to 100K sf of commercial space. With the passage of the ballot measure in November 2016, this building finds itself in direct adjacency to a future BART station, ensuring that it will remain at the heart of downtown San Jose’s thriving tech scene.

July 2017