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Transamerica Pyramid

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Transamerica Pyramid
The Spire


Structure in General

existing [completed]
composite structure
mat foundation
curtain wall


commercial office


  • The Transamerica Pyramid is one of the most recognized buildings in the United States.
  • Tallest building in San Francisco for 45 years; surpassed by Salesforce Tower in 2017.
  • Tallest building in the United States west of the Mississippi River from 1972-1974; surpassed by the Aon Center in Los Angeles.
  • Throughout its construction, the boarding surrounding the emerging site boldly boasted: A San Francisco landmark since 1972.
  • Excavation commenced in December 1969, with the first steel placed in November 1970.
  • First occupancy was during the summer of 1972.
  • The foundation consists of a steel and concrete block that sits 52 feet underground and is designed to move during earthquakes.
  • Components of the base include approximately 16,000 cubic yards of concrete, encasing more than 300 miles of steel reinforcement rods.
  • The largest floor is the 5th, with  21,025 ft², while the 48th floor is the smallest, with only 2,025 ft².
  • The top floor (48th) features a tenants-only conference room with 360-degree views of the city and bay.
  • The 'wings' which start at the 29th floor are necessary near the top of the pyramid to support elevators on the east side and a stairwell and smoke tower on the west side.
  • Only two elevators reach the top floor.
  • The 'spire' is the upper 212 feet (64.6 meters), and is covered with vertically louvered aluminum panels.
  • The lower portion of the spire encloses mechanical equipment.
  • A virtual observation deck has four cameras at the very top of the spire pointed in all directions. In the lobby there are four monitors broadcasting the images 24 hours a day.
  • The Pyramid lobby features the work of many artists through a rotating art exhibition.
  • The exterior's quartz-aggregate panels are reinforced with connecting rods at four places on every floor, and the spacing between the panels allows lateral movement in case of an earthquake.
  • During the 7.1-magnitude Bay Area earthquake in 1989, the top story swayed nearly a foot from side to side.
  • With 3,678 windows it takes a month to wash them.
  • Transamerica wanted a taller building (1,150 feet/350.5 meters) but the city planning commission would not approve it because it interfered with precious views of San Francisco Bay from Nob Hill.
  • While the Pyramid is no longer the company headquarters, it serves as Transamerica's corporate logo and is strongly identified with the corporation.

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More Information


600-634 Montgomery Street
575-599 Washington Street, 556-598 Clay Street
600 Montgomery Street
San Francisco

Technical Data

853.01 ft
853.01 ft
853.01 ft

Involved Companies

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Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
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