Former IBM Cottle Road Campus


Date:
1958
Architects:
Baylis, Douglas
Bolles, John Savage
Neighborhood:
San Jose
Building Type:
Industrial
Address:
5600 Cottle Road, San Jose, California
Current Name:
International Business Machines Corp.: West Coast Research, Education & Manufacturing Center
Current Use:
Vacant and industrial
Current Condition:
Campus core: poor; Hitachi buildings: excellent
Status:
At Risk
In 1956, IBM broke ground on a 190-acre parcel of land that would become their award-winning Cottle Road campus.  The main plant facility, consisted of five connected buildings, constructed using steel, concrete, and glass.  The buildings were accented with brick and multi-colored tiles – the tile pattern said to mimic an IBM punch card.

In an effort to create a pleasant working environment for IBM employees (a novel concept at the time), architect John Savage Bolles collaborated with landscape architect Douglas Baylis to incorporate gardens, patios, and reflection ponds into the plant’s overall design.  The campus was further enhanced by a collection of modern art including sculptures by Bay Area artists Bob Howard and Gurdon Woods.

The central core of the former IBM campus is now vacant, behind chain link fence.  Several former IBM buildings are currently in use by Hitachi.  Former property of IBM Research building (Building #25) was used for the construction of a Lowe’s home improvement store in 2008, following a suspicious fire.

Sources:
Historic IBM Building 25, Continuity, Preservation Action Council of San Jose Newsletter, Summer 2003
http://www.preservation.org/projects/ibm25/ibm25.html

Image Credits:
IBM building, circa 1958, taken from an early IBM brochure, photographer believed to be Ansel Adams.
IBM campus view, vintage advertisement, 1962, photographer unknown.
IBM campus aerial, Official Chamber of Commerce Photo, 1969, photographer unknown.

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DOCOMOMO US/Northern California

P.O. Box 29226
San Francisco, CA 94129-0226

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