Transamerica Pyramid, San Francisco

4 out of 5 stars 37 Reviews

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    Transamerican Pyramid from North Beach
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    statues at Transamerica Redwood Park
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  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    Transamerica Pyramid

    by chewy3326 Written Mar 15, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Transamerica Building

    After the Golden Gate Bridge, one of San Francisco's most well known structures is the Transamerica Pyramid, a 853-foot tall pyramid skyscraper that dominates San Francisco's skyline. It was constructed in 1972 and has 48 stories. However, I believe (not too sure about this) that there aren't any tours inside the building. This view of the Transamerica pyramid is from Chinatown.

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  • littlesam1's Profile Photo

    The Transamerica Pyramid

    by littlesam1 Written Sep 6, 2005

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    The Transamerica Pyramid
    1 more image

    Some things tend to haunt me when I visit a city. When I was in Prague I became fascinated with the cathedral Our Lady Before Tyn. In Paris of course the Eiffel Tower seemed to overshadow every picture taken there. In San Francisco I became fascinated with the Transamerica Tower. It is a very overpowering building and it does dominate the San Francisco skyline. Everytime I went out in the city I kept looking for it to see where is was in relation to where I was located. I watched it from street car windows. I photographed it here from the top of Coit Tower. I went to Alcatraz and stood on the platform there and stared at the building. It just seemed to haunt and overwhelm me with interest.

    I love architecture. To me this is one of the outstanding buildings in the US. From the pyramids on the base supporting the struction, the pyramid shaped tower the building fascinated me for reasons I can not begin to explain. Although the tower has been closed to the public since 9/11 there is a visitors center in the base of the building.

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  • spgood301's Profile Photo

    Transamerica Pyramid

    by spgood301 Updated Aug 30, 2005

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    Transamerica Pyramid

    Like New York's Empire State Building, the Transamerica Pyramid defines San Francisco's skyline. Located in the heart of the Financial District, it's quite a unique building, instantly recognizable. It's really just an office building named after, I believe, an insurance company. Still, you can't avoid it-the eye always seems to wander there.

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  • madamx's Profile Photo

    Transamerica Pyramid

    by madamx Updated Aug 15, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This was, until recently, San Francisco's tallest building, but still is a modern symbol of the city. Completed in 1972, and designed by William Pereira, it is a 48-story structure with a 212 foot spire.

    They no longer offer tours of the building.

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  • b1bob's Profile Photo

    Transamerica Building

    by b1bob Updated Apr 27, 2005

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    Transamerica building in the morning fog

    The Transamerica Building is a fixture in the San Francisco skline. At 853 feet (260 m.), it is San Francsco's tallest building. When this picture was taken in the morning fog, you can't even see the top point of the building. When it was being constructed in the early 1970s, many folks decried it as a monstrosity. However, once it was built, two things won over many sceptics. First, the pyramid shape of the building allowed more sunlight to reach the streets. Second, because of the larger base, pyramid shaped buildings like this are more structurally sound in the event of an earthquake.

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  • smschley's Profile Photo

    Transamerica Pyramid

    by smschley Written Mar 12, 2005

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    In 1968 Transamerica President John R. Beckett noticed that the trees in a city park allowed natural light and fresh air to filter down to the streets below. Wishing to achieve the same effect with Transamerica's new headquarters, an unconventional pyramid shape was chosen for the building.

    According to the architect, William L. Pereira, the pyramid is the ideal shape for skyscrapers, offering the practical advantage of letting more air and light in the adjacent streets. The building would be a statement of architectural sculpture. In the end, he turned out right. If you look at the Transamerica Pyramid now, it looks like it was made to be built in San Francisco.

    A lot of protest came from the citizens of San Francisco when the plans for the new buildings of the Transamerica Company were unveiled in 1969. Most people claimed that the pyramid-shaped skyscraper wouldn't fit in the city

    From an economical point of view, a pyramid is not an efficient structure in terms of surface, but it was a way for the architect to get around the strict building laws that imposed a certain ratio between the buildings surface and its height. Transamerica wanted a taller building but the city planning commission would not approve it because it interfered with precious views of San Francisco Bay from Nob Hill.

    This 48-story building towers over the city at 853 feet and is the tallest building in San Francisco, has become a symbol for the city and for the Transamerica Corporation. The building has 48 floors, 3,678 windows. The largest floor is the 5th floor, with 21,025 sq ft, while the 48th floor is the smallest, with only 2,025 sq ft.

    Check out the "virtual observation deck" in the lobby. You can control four cameras mounted on the top of the building, panning around north, south, east and west for views of the city. The wings that project from the side enclose the elevator shaft in one and a staircase and smoke tower in the other. Don't miss the scale model of the Transamerica Pyramid, for a top-down view.

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  • Carmela71's Profile Photo

    SF Buildings Transamerica Pyramid

    by Carmela71 Written Sep 7, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness



    Another building present in all the photos at Downtown. It is shaped as a pyramid and it remind me the New York Chrysler builder (I am sure they are not similar at all, only the shape, but when I saw it, it came to my mind!)

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  • pigletsmom's Profile Photo

    Cool Skyline Architecture

    by pigletsmom Updated May 13, 2004

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    photo from www.guidesulysse.com

    It is one thing to see the Trans America Pyramid from a distance, it is quite another to see it up close. Could you imagine what San Francisco would look like without this building? Fascinating views of the building can be had just walking up Powell street through North Beach to the Financial District. It dominates your attention. Really spectacular upclose and in person. My camera battery died before I could take a photo of the building, so much for digital.

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  • meteorologist1's Profile Photo

    Transamerica Pyramid at Night

    by meteorologist1 Written Apr 4, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Transamerica Pyramid

    Here is a shot of the Transamerica Pyramid at night. The shape of this building is unique, so it drew my attention even in the darkness. As part of the San Francisco skyline, this pyramid-shaped building offers a great photograph spot. To give you a flavor of the contrasting floor space areas, the largest floor is the 5th, with 21,025 square feet, while the 48th floor is the smallest, with only 2,025 square feet.

    Related to:
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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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  • neopetsfan's Profile Photo

    Transamerican Pyramid

    by neopetsfan Updated Mar 13, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Transamerican Pyramid at sunset.. We took this photo at the Skydeck, at the 41st floor.
    I loved the view and whenever I turn on the tv and there's something about San Fransisco on.. it's there! You can't miss it..

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  • Zydeco31's Profile Photo

    The Transamerica Tower

    by Zydeco31 Written Jan 7, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A view from below :)
    1 more image

    This is probably the most significant building in the San Francisco skyline. It's quite a view looking up from the ground, but even more amazing is the view from the top (and, of course, those pictures came out terribly dark and blurry :( . I don't know exactly how tall the building is but I think it's the city's tallest. In 1972 It was built with granite that had spouted from Mount Lassen's eruption in 1906, the same year of the city's earthquake. It was also the tallest building in the U.S. west of the Mississippi from 1972 to 1974. It has 48 floors and 3,678 windows. I'm sure it will still be standing after the next earthquake :)

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  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    Transamerica Pyramid

    by keeweechic Updated Jun 26, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This 48-story landmark towers over the city at an astonishing 853 feet and is the tallest building in San Francisco, has become a symbol for the city and for the Transamerica Corporation.

    There is an art gallery in the lobby and four consols where visitors can look through and remotely control four cameras located on the tip of the building. The wings that project from the side enclose the elevator shaft in one and a staircase and smoke tower in the other.
    .

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  • Callavetta's Profile Photo

    Transamerica Building

    by Callavetta Updated May 13, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Peering from behind modern apartment buildings

    It seems that where ever you go in Paris, you may get a glimpse of the Eiffle Tower. In San Francisco, it's the Transamerica Building that is omnipresent. Along with the Golden Gate Bridge, it is truly a symbol of the SF skyline.

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  • sjvessey's Profile Photo

    Coit Tower

    by sjvessey Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Coit Tower

    Pay a few bucks and take the elevator to the top of Coit Tower for the best view in town. You get a 360 degree panorama, with all the main sights - Bay Bridge, downtown skyline (see photo), Nob Hill, the bay itself, Alcatraz Island, etc. If you need camera film, they sell it in the gift shop, but my advice is stock up in advance, because we are not talking cheap here.

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  • solopes's Profile Photo

    Strange and Big

    by solopes Updated Dec 22, 2013
    San Francisco - USA

    The biggest building in San Francisco is also the strangest.

    Remembering the regulations and precautions against earthquakes it impresses to imagine what was done in that building.

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