Project Location: 3045 Park Boulevard, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Located in Palo Alto’s evolving Ventura Neighborhood, 3045 Park transforms an underutilized site into a modern research and development (R&D) workplace that contributes to the ongoing evolution of its transit-oriented and mixed-use neighborhood. As a welcome addition, the straightforward, pristine project adds to the enjoyable urban fabric of Palo Alto and creates more opportunities for innovation. The design embraces and furthers the community’s goals for this vibrant neighborhood. This meant designing a pedestrian-scale structure that respected context first and reinforced the bike-pedestrian culture of the area.
Creating a prominent presence, the two-story building is centrally located along the Park frontage, with the lobby exactly on axis with Olive Street. This position creates a visual terminus for Olive and a beacon that welcomes visitors with an articulated wall of structural glazing and an expressed elevator tower. Unlike typical R&D buildings, 3045 Park is pulled towards the street, connecting it with the community and the street’s pedestrian and bicycle passerby.
Parking is tucked under and behind the building, which creates the opportunity for significant landscaping that builds upon the City’s celebrated urban forest. Approximately 50% of the parking is below the building. The siting and parking design enabled a 65-foot-wide buffer to exist between the project and an adjacent multi-family building. This garden area, almost 25% of the width of the site, provides a semi-private patio for outdoor meetings, lunches, and casual breakouts.
The pedestrian-oriented building comfortably fits in with the mixed-use neighborhood. It was designed not as a bold overpowering statement, but rather as a partner in achieving a thriving neighborhood.
Emphasizing the pedestrian experience, the simple, box-like building is characterized by a low-scale and horizontal design with wide bands of glass. A broad, continuous overhang helps reinforce the horizontal massing, and landscaped berms further scale down the structure. Details such as blind vertical mullions, clean steel fascia, and wrap-around sunshades enhance this gesture. On the first floor, the windows are framed by striking white metal panels that create a portal effect and give the building a defined base. The metal panels have a running bond pattern that creates a friendly, relaxed character. Above, continuous expanses of semi-transparent glass allow ambient light to fill the spaces.
The broad glazing creates a high level of transparency and allows the inner workings of the building to visually spill out onto the street. Similarly, the tree-lined streets and Stanford foothills are invited inside the building. Providing further indoor-outdoor connectivity, a second-floor balcony sits above the landscaped patio and gives users access to an additional outdoor workspace.
The client’s goal was to create a 30,000-sf speculative facility to house R&D uses in a way that was compatible with and a modern extension of Palo Alto’s tech culture.
3045 Park follows on the success of two other fully-leased buildings the developer owns in this neighborhood. This third building allows the developer to provide new space to some of the world’s leading technology companies and creates a cluster of space in the innovation district. Cloudera and Tencent lease the first two buildings. Although construction was completed during the COVID pandemic, tenant interest in the new building has been incredibly strong and tours are ongoing.
The project is located a half-mile from Palo Alto’s second main street, California Avenue, and a multi-modal transit station that includes Caltrain service. This part of the City has been designated as a Priority Development Area (PDA) by the City Council and local agencies due to its access to transit and existing services in the California Avenue Business District. The City’s 2030 comprehensive plan similarly seeks to cluster new development in commercial centers that have existing services and various transportation options.
The building has received strong praise from community members and City representatives. Community feedback has praised the new building as an attractive addition that should be modeled by future projects. At a recent photoshoot, we received over 10 comments from community members, all positive, including compliments from residents of the adjacent multi-family building. During the planning process, the City’s Architectural Review Board Chair said, “I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to the applicant and the designers they are working with for bringing us a building that I think will be lovely for its occupants and a terrific addition to the street and neighborhood...You had that challenge of living – of working next to residences which I think is unique on the block and you’ve addressed it. I look forward to seeing this.”
Owner: Jay Paul Company
GC: Level 10 Construction
Landscape: DES Architects + Engineers
Structural: DES Architects + Engineers
Visual Communications: DES Architects + Engineers
LEED AP: DES Architects + Engineers
Energy Modeling: NRG Engineering
Photography: Matthew Millman