The SOFA District is located in the heart of San Jose, California, where visionaries and the creative class make up the majority of the population. SOFA stands for “South of First Area,” which has become the ultimate living destination for aspiring creatives. The Pierce, a luxury living apartment complex, is the newest addition to the community. CDC’s Greg Ledesma, Project Manager for The Pierce, gave us insight into transforming the building into its own work of art.

For those who don’t know about The Pierce, can you give a brief description of the project?

The Pierce is a mid-rise, 232-unit luxury apartment and retail community in downtown San Jose. What’s interesting is the developer wanted to really focus on the the history behind The Pierce and embellish that aspect of the project. One of the buildings that they wanted to demolish was the office of the original architect who designed The Pierce building. We integrated the designs of the original building into the newer building, which created an artistic end result.  

Can you explain the historical significance of The Pierce and how it influenced your team’s design process?

There were a few buildings in the surrounding area that were early industrial design, and eventually they evolved into shops and different trades. This became a big focal point in our design process, and we tried to keep the project in that same industrial realm. We also collaborated with Lumenworks Lighting, who also played a significant role in the process by designing incredible focal light fixtures.

The Voxel Cloud is such a unique feature to the complex. How did the idea of this work of art and the fact that it would be so publicly displayed affect your creative process?

What we tried to do was make the design process minimal, since the Voxel Cloud is already so prominent. We wanted the large common area to be flexible for local galleries to show off their pieces. We also wanted it to be used for events, rather than it being just a leasing space.

Tell me more about working with local artists on this project?

Art is a huge part of what makes The Pierce such a unique community. What was nice was that throughout the process the architect had relationships and connections with the local galleries, so he basically created the connection between the developer and the artists for the project. Flexible, mobile wall displays were installed, which can move throughout the space and display different installations of artwork from the local artists.

What is the feeling you hope to provoke when a potential resident walks into The Pierce for the first time?

We wanted to combine the building’s history with a bit of edginess into the designs. It was important to us that when people walk through the complex, they see the undertone of character and history.

In what way does The Pierce impact the SOFA area? In other words, what did the CDC design team bring to life at    The Pierce that’s unique to its up-and-coming location?

The architect was very passionate about adding the gallery space in the building for artists, which I think, among other features, is what makes The Pierce such a special addition to the SOFA district.  Our team embraced the sense of community and celebration of the city’s culture, which really fueled our vision for the designs.

Learn more about The Pierce HERE.

Browse through photos of The Pierce HERE.