The Dean

Silicon Valley’s development patterns defy easy classification. The area’s farmlands rapidly developed during the mid-century into a mix of suburban homes, freeways, and industrial buildings. Today, as the area’s densities increase, the result is decidedly more urban, yet the expansive roadways of past decades still dominate as immovable infrastructure.

The Dean is a new development situated within this context and results in part from the recently released San Antonio Precise Plan—a plan that identifies development along San Antonio Road as a revitalized neighborhood that is highly accessible to public transit options, bike ways, new parks, and supports a diverse mix of commercial and residential uses. The Dean facilitates an active pedestrian environment by linking older and newer neighborhoods together.

At the heart of this nearly 6-acre development is a public paseo that creates linkages within this development to emerging retail environments on one side and existing neighborhoods and new parks on the other. The paseo is publicly accessible and features seating, lighting, multiple public fountains, and a series of small amenity spaces along its edges.

The project’s sustainability goals are extensive, with nearly 600 units situated above a parking structure that spans across the entire site. The density of development ensures the viability of developing public transportation infrastructure and nearby retail, all within a short walk. This kind of walkable community means tenants have the option to keep their cars home.

The project has four separate roof terraces, allowing easy access to the outdoors and views to the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. Roof amenities include dining opportunities, a pool, fitness and gathering areas. Nestled around the rooftop HVAC units, the project features a roof-top vegetable garden that provides fresh fruit and vegetables to building tenants through a program operated by the building’s management.

The Dean acknowledges the severe water strain in the valley by utilizing low water use plantings, 90% efficient drip irrigation, and smart controllers linked to nearby weather stations. The Paseo treats all the water runoff from the roofs through a series of stormwater planters along the edge. Other features include the use of thermally modified ash—a more sustainable substitute for tropical hardwood—and LED site lighting that meets current dark-sky standards.

With a multitude of tenants sharing the exterior amenities, the development team took particular care to bring a sense of luxury and extravagance to those spaces. A glass-sided pool provides swimmers a view into adjacent spaces and buildings feature ground-level porticos that allow the amenity spaces to link together, create long site lines through the project and a sense of expansiveness that is often lost in typical courtyard type developments. “The Springs” features a series of spa pools set in a richly tropical environment – one small gesture where water is fully celebrated. Bathers can dry off at the fire or cook dinner in the nearby portico – a curtained environment for relaxing by the fire.

Other amenities include a game court, the “Backyard”—a quiet courtyard for cooking and Petanque—an off-leash dog area, and roof gardens that feature seamless interior and exterior connections. All the spaces are appointed with rich paving materials, clean white stucco walls, and a rich palette of plantings.

With densities approaching 100 units per acre, new housing concepts like The Dean must continue to adapt to changing expectations about outdoor living. The single-family residence—long serving as the ideal for a lifestyle that promotes a connection to the outdoors—must give way to new models that allow families and individuals to feel like they have space of their own, even within development that continues to become denser.


  • Gray Award Winner, Landscape Design - Residential
  • Location: Mountain View, CA
  • Client: Prometheus Real Estate Group