Skip to: [ search ] [ menus ] [ content ] Select style [ Aqua ] [ Citrus ] [ Fire ] [ Orange ] [ show/hide more content ]

The Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco

Pyramid Center from Columbus Street

The Transamerica Pyramid, though no longer the headquarters of the Transamerica Corporation, has a stuctural height of 853 feet (260 m), which makes it the tallest skyscraper in San Francisco. The Transamerica Pyramid is not the tallest STRUCTURE in San Francisco, however. That honor belongs to the Sutro Tower, at 977 feet (298 m). The Transamerica Pyramid was constructed between 1969 and 1972. The pyramid was the tallest building west of the Mississippi between 1972 and 1974. The original proposal for the construction of a 1150-foot (350.5-m) building (which would have made the pyramid, for one year, the second-tallest completed building in the world) was rejected by the city planning commission because the building would have obstructed views of San Francisco Bay from Nob Hill. The land use and zoning restrictions for the lot restricted the number of square feet of office space that could be built upon the lot, and the pyramidal shape presented a solution to the design challenge. Nevertheless, the building designed by William Pereira encountered fierce opposition during its design and construction. People aware of San Francisco politics can imagine why! :-)

The building is a four-sided pyramid with two “wings” on opposite sides of the building. The top 212 feet (64.8m) of the builiding is a spire. An observation deck on the 27th floor was closed after the September 11, 2001 attacks and replaced by four cameras that are pointed in the four cardinal directions with views presented on monitors in the lobby. The direction and zoom of each camera is controllable by visitors, 24 hours a day. The pure white color of the building results from the crushed quartz covering the façade. The building has 3678 windows. The four-story base of the builiding contains 16,000 cubic yards (12,233 cubic m) of concrete and over 300 miles (483 km) of steel rebar.

Two facts that were totally unknown to me are that there is a plaque dedicated to two famous dogs, Bummer and Lazarus, at the base of the building, and that the hull of the whaling vessel Niantic, an artifact of the Gold Rush, lies almost exactly beneath the Transamerica Pyramid and is marked by a plaque outside the building (California Historical Landmark #88).

The Wikipedia article discusses the NUMEROUS appearances of the Transamerica Pyramid in “Pop Culture,” from “Dirty Harry” to the James Bond film “A View to a Kill” to the video game “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” (not to be confused with the REAL San Andreas, CA), and is worth a read.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

You can view higher-resolution photos (*generally* 7-30 megabytes, compressed) at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. Apparel and other gifts decorated with some of our most popular photos can be ordered from the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Store on CafePress®. Both Shutterfly™ and CafePress® ship to most international locations worldwide!

No Comments to “The Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco”

  (RSS feed for these comments)

You must be logged in to post a comment.

InspectorWordpress has prevented 52153 attacks.
Get Adobe Flash player