Did you ever wonder why San Jose doesn’t have a high profile skyline? Architects involved in the construction of the commercial buildings in San Jose know why. San Jose is the 10th largest city in the United States, yet it boasts a modest sky profile. The reason — the city-owned Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport.
The airport’s proximity to downtown is a mere 3.5 miles. That’s one factor in keeping the building heights modest. But the most important factor is clearance. The flight path of incoming planes is right over the downtown area. If you fly into San Jose you know what I’m talking about. The FAA has restricted buildings to 24 stories on the south area of downtown and 18 stories nearer the airport, because of the height restrictions.
But to architects that restriction and working within it is just a challenge. In spite of the height limits, architects who design buildings Downtown have come up with the new City Hall, refurbished the old St. Clare, across from the McEnery Convention Center, and the Hotel DeAnza, as well as the Adobe world headquarters with its skybridge and green design.