This building is very easy to identify. It is somewhat of a symbol of San Francisco and resides in the modern downtown district. I had a little bit of fun getting my camera and walking to where the sun would be right behind the top of the pyramid, thus making it look like it was glowing. To my knowledge, there is not a public observation deck on the building itself. However, you may want to go to the nearby Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill to get a good look around.
The Transamerica Pyramid is one of the symbols of San Francisco. Completed in 1972, the building itself was unique to the era, but the lobby/entrance is typical 1970s architecture which doesn't stand the test of time. In fact, if you're on street level going into the building, you would never know how interesting the building is above the first concrete level.
The pyramid is best seen from a distance, to appreciate the beauty and grace of the building.
The Transamerica Pyramid is the most remarkable presence in San Francisco's skyline. Located in the financial district, it's the tallest building in the city, measuring 853 ft (256m) from the street level. It was designed by William Pereira as an office building for Transamerica corporation, a financial institution. The building opened in 1972. The public is not allowed at the upper floors.
One of the defining buildings of the SF skyline is the world famous Transamerica Pyramid. The 853 foot pyramid was completed by the architects William Pereira & Associates in 1972 and at the time was the tallest building west of the Mississippi. Today it is the 4th tallest west of the Mississippi but still remains the tallest in SF and Northern California.
When the Transamerica Corporation decided on the style of its new headquarters in 1968, people were shocked by how revolutionary the shape of the building was. When it was completed in 1972, many San Franciscans--worldly renowned for their open-mindedness--couldn't stand the sight of the Pyramid. But by the 1980s, the Pyramid had grown on the locals, and today is beloved by many and has become as San Franciscan as the Golden Gate and the Haight.
At 853 ft high and at 48 stories, 1500 people come to work here each working day. Although now not the corporate headquarters of Transamerica, the name has nevertheless stuck, just like the Chrysler Building in New York. Unfortunately, because of security concerns and the compactness of the building, the obersvation floor isn't open to the public. However, the folks at the building have made up with a virtual observation deck in the building's ground floor, where you can control live-tv cameras situated at the very top of the building and zoom into areas all over the city.
Transamerican Pyramid (pic 1-2) is really a futuristic building, I couldn’t accept it in the first place as part of SF skyline but now that I look back at my photos I like it! :) Actually I discovered that it’s visible from several different points in the city (pics 3-4). As you can see it looks like an Egyptian pyramid!! The architect was William Pereira and decided to created like this because he wanted to maximize light in the narrow streets of the financial district, clever isn’t it? It was built in 1972 and it is 260 meters tall with 48 floors, definitely the tallest building in SF. It houses business offices but its no longer the Transamerica Corporation headquarters.
Next to the pyramid is the Transamerica Redwood Park, a small park made for the enjoyment of the employees, tenants and friends. There is a nice fountain but we didn’t see anyone there except the statues of the children (pic 5).
The tower is open Monday to Friday 9.00-18.00 but we just admired it from outside as the viewing platform at the top is closed for security reasons because of 9/11 :(
The 2nd most recognizable symbol of San Francisco behind the Golden Gate Bridge is the Transamerica Pyramid building which is still named after the Transamerica Corporation insurance company even though their headquarters are no longer in the building. The 48 story building was completed in 1972 and was for a short time the tallest building west of the Mississippi and still the tallest building in San Francisco. There is no observation deck here or at any other building in San Francisco that I'm aware of although we were able to go to the 32nd floor of the Westin St. Francis in Union Square for the view and I understand there's another good view from the Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill.
We never got close to the building but you can see it from lots of different places as you are wandering through the city.
The Transamerica Pyramid is possibly the most easily recognizable building in all of San Francisco. It was completed in 1972 and it has been the city's tallest skyscaper since then; however, several projects have been put forward that could put an end to the Pyramid's reign over San Francisco in the next few years. The Pyramid is 256 m high, 64 m of which are made up by the hollow spire that stands on top of the building's 48 floors.
The Pyramid was constructed on the site of the Montgomery Block, which used to be the largest building on the West Coast. It was home to a very popular saloon where Mark Twain, who then worked at the Golden Era newspaper located just across the street, was one of the regular patrons. The author's presence in the area is commemorated by the Mark Twain Plaza, and also in the small but lovely Redwood Park, which is located right next to the Transamerica Pyramid. The park's fountain features several jumping frogs as a tribute to Mark Twain's story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County". There is also a nice sculpture by Glenna Goodacre called "Puddle Jumpers", and a plaque in memory of Bummer and Lazarus. Bummer and Lazarus were two stray dogs that achieved a bit of a legendary status in the Financial District in the 1860s, mostly thanks to their rat-killing exploits, which were often reported in newspapers, and their remarkable friendship. When the two dogs died, Lazarus in 1863 and Bummer in 1865, Mark Twain was among the main journalists who published a eulogy in the local newspapers.
The Transamerica Pyramid caused quite a stir when it was built in 1972 with its odd space-like shape of 863 feet designed to allow natural light to filter down to the street below, but today it falls short of only the Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars as the icon most associated with the city. Though the building is an impressive site and unmistakable in the skyline, my most vivid impression always remains the juxtaposition of its futuristic shape in close contrast to the Sentinel Building just in front of it. The Sentinel Building is a true landmark in its own right, having been built during the 1906 earthquake and obviously surviving it! Its elegant shape and eerie greenish blue hue evokes a ghostly though charming element that somehow compliments the newer building’s efficient structure.
I found in 2008, the combination of a truly wide angle lens and a good digital SLR makes for better shots. This one was similar to my old shot but the detail and color are so much better.
The very impressive looking Transamerica Pyramid is San Francisco's tallest building, at 260m. Located amongst downtown office blocks, it possibly looks more impressive from a distance.
Construction of the tower finished in 1972, and this pyramid shaped building is one of the recognisable landmarks of the city. There used to be an observation tower on the 27th floor, but this was closed to the public after September 11, 2001 attacks.
Next to the towering pyramid is an unusual site in the middle of a city - a half-acre of redwood trees, called Redwood Park. The park is popular for tai-chi fanatics and lunchtime concerts.
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