Friday, April 7, 2017

Roadboy Visits The Tech

Silicon Valley's Hands-On Techno Museum

A couple of decades ago I lived in Silicon Valley. 

While there my firm was part of the local design team that collaborated with master architect Ricardo Legorreta in the development of San Jose's (now beloved) bubble gum colored Children's Discovery Museum.

As I look back now I realize this was the pivotal period where quiet "Old" San Jose was quickly morphing into chaotic "New" San Jose. Fine hotels and a convention center were being built and streets everywhere were torn up for light rail.
 Detail from "Old" San Jose's Montgomery Theater

The excitement of a rapidly emerging urban center, coupled with the success of our Children's Discovery Museum, seemed to jump start long discussed efforts to create a permanent museum in celebration of technology. The commission to design the new museum, to be entitled The Tech, was also awarded to Legorreta. That is the point when I relocated to Phoenix to open a firm of my own. 

Although I've returned to San Jose many times over the years, I've never had an opportunity to visit the finished Tech.

This trip I took the time to experience the mango and azure colored museum residing right next to San Jose's historic Montgomery Theater.

 The Tech's Oculus Atrium

Although The Tech actually comprises 130,000 square feet, it somehow feels very compact. As you enter the ground floor there is a cafe, the ticket kiosk, a gift shop and an IMAX theater.  Exhibits are located on the floor above and below the ground level. The upper floor has a bio-design studio, a couple of robots and a very interesting display showcasing innovations in health care. 

There were a variety of new displays under development as well. 

 The Anatomage Table

In the healthcare area I was amazed at the table where the human body is viewed in three dimensions. The body may be rotated and when touched body parts and organs are described.  

 Robots Draw Portraits

You can have a robot photograph you and then draw your portrait. You can even climb up in a special "birdy" device that allows you to fly like a bird over Manhattan via virtual reality.

 Getting Ready to Virtually Soar

Downstairs there are are various robotic displays, interactive body metric devices, an exploration gallery and an earthquake display that allows you to experience various major global earthquakes.

 The Quake Experience
India 2001

There are life size high definition monitors that record and display your every move as a skeleton or with complete with muscles or with organs and your circulatory system.


I spent about 2 hours in The Tech. It was pretty interesting. And, with all of the hands-on exhibits, kids all love it. 

Be sure to keep track of your entry ticket as it is the digital key that enables you to access all of the  displays. 

The Tech is pricey coming in at $24 per adult and $19 per child (IMAX is extra). 

There is no parking garage so plan to park a couple of blocks to the east in the city garage that offers $5 flat rate parking.

Roadboy's Travels © 2017

And always remember............

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