San Jose Environmental Innovation Center
When making plans for the San Jose Environmental Innovation Center, the project team had several goals in mind. First and foremost, the parties involved wanted to give Santa Clara County, Calif., residents a place to safely dispose of their household hazardous waste. The new area would include a temporary storage facility, parking lot and street improvements. With the presence of hazardous waste a guarantee and an extremely flat surface across the site, city officials knew they would need a storm water system to remove 100% of storm water runoff.
The city also wanted to use the site as a testing ground for new green technologies that could be used on future projects. This led to plenty of innovative thinking to overcome the challenges faced. Work began on the project in June 2009, and it was completed in October 2010.
Even though they were designing a hazardous waste disposal area, designers Chris Mastrodicasa and Mike Pruitt wanted to beautify the grounds as much as possible. They attempted to combine function and aesthetics in all of their concepts. One of the most significant achivements was a new permeable sidewalk comprised of rubber tiles, porous concrete and high-fly-ash green concrete. The combination of porous materials allows storm water drainage throughout the facility, and the city can experiment with different growing conditions for trees along the street.
To further encourage plant growth, the design team used technologies including linear-grate modular wetlands, underground integrated tree and storm water systems, and structural soils.