City Center San Ramon
San Ramon, U.S.A
In ancient Greek, meaning “Place”, Topos is charged with all signification related to the local environment and life. Nature dominates San Ramon, a suburb of San Francisco. Trees, water and landscape shape the environment.
The project for the City Center San Ramon is entirely conceived around the Piazza. It is a generous piazza of 127’ by 384’ surrounded by six pavilions of varying sizes. All of the pavilions have a direct relation to the piazza and each of them contributes to animate it. San Ramon needs a City Center but also needs a “seed,” a place capable to generate opportunities around it.
The Piazza is a “social hub.” The idea is to have three generations of people walking around, finding their place, meeting people. To achieve that, an open air theatre is designed for concerts, outdoor projections or any type of civic event or meeting. A sculpture garden will give the opportunity to experience the plastic arts through temporary exhibitions and also by involving local artists. A movie theatre of 9-12 screens is located on the second floor and centered on the axis of the Piazza as an iconic presence. A good presence of restaurants, café terraces and shopping opportunities together with cinema, music, arts, in general, and nature will create a true authentic vitalized City Center for San Ramon.
The City Center is conceived as a horizontal building in line with the scale of the place and its tension, at the ground level the building is fragmented to meet the human scale. The Center is perceived as a volume “floating” over the street level: at the ground floor level, all of the facades are fully transparent from floor to ceiling. This is in order to create a friendly walking experience both inside the Piazza as well as around the perimeter. The facades at the second floor around the Piazza and facing the Avenue are also fully transparent. The will to establish a strong visual connection between inside and outside is clear.
Our objective is to create a pedestrian realm: a place which as soon as it is reached, the car seemingly by magic disappears and leaves the place to the human being. The Piazza together with the openness and permeability constitutes a destination as well as a starting point for future growth.
Client: Sunset Development Company
Renzo Piano Building Workshop, architects