San Jose State University, Student Union
Expansion and Renovation
San Jose, California
Square Footage: 110,400 - New; 132,300 - Renovation
LEED Gold Targeted
This significant student life project expands and completely renovates the original 140,000-square-foot student union that was designed in 1967 by the renowned modernist architect, Ernest Kump. San Jose State's overriding project goal was to reinvigorate student life on the downtown San Jose campus by enhancing programs and activity space to serve the diverse student body and growing on-campus residential population, creating a more open, lively presence on campus, and upgrading the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and data systems.
Our design solution is both contemporary and contextual, weaving old and new environments into a single, unified center for student life. Using the existing cast concrete structure as a visual anchor, new wings on the east and west add lightness and transparency to the building's composition. The soaring sky-lit atrium, carved into the core of the original structure, brings light deep into the building and public gathering spaces surrounding the atrium.
The student union provides 24/7 access with flexible meeting spaces and appealing retail services to enhance the student experience and promote broader student outreach. Program areas include food services, event rooms, ballroom and meeting rooms, bookstore, recreation center, lounge spaces, theater, and a 350-seat lecture hall at the base level of the three-story east expansion.
New glazing, a palette of warm interior materials, and a revitalized atrium space transforms the original building into a 21st-century beacon of student life.