Hello, everyone! I’m Joe Cianciotto, and I’m fascinated by the art and architecture of San Francisco. While people associate San Francisco with the “Painted Ladies”, the Civic Center, and Lombard Street, the city is actually home to the sixth-ranked skyline in the United States. San Francisco has a long history of high-rise construction, starting with the Chronicle Building, which was built in 1890. Since then, over 450 high-rises have been built in the city. Here are the top five tallest buildings in San Francisco:
5. One Rincon Hill South Tower — Standing 641 feet and 60 floors tall, the One Rincon Hill South Tower was completed in 2008 at a cost of over $300 million. It is the tallest purely residential building in the city, and features advanced anti-earthquake technology, including concrete outriggers. Another unique feature is the LED-illuminated crown of the South Tower, which changes color according to the weather forecast.
4. Millennium Tower — With its clean, late-modernist lines and gray-blue glass cladding, the Millennium Tower stands above its peers along Mission Street. At 645 feet, this was, for a time, the tallest residential building west of the Mississippi River. The Millennium Tower has had its fair share of notoriety: in 2010, “Skyscraperman” Dan Goodwin scaled the outside of the tower before being arrested when he reached the
3. 345 California Center — Nicknamed the “Tweezer Towers” and “Stun Gun Towers” by San Francisco natives, 345 California Center houses the Loews Regency San Francisco hotel. The hotel itself is located in towers set at a 45-degree angle relative to the rest of the building, offering gorgeous views of the Bay Area. The “tweezers” are actually spires that rise 695 feet into the sky, roughly 75 higher than the roof of the building itself.
2. 555 California Street — Owned by the Bank of America, 555 California Street was designed as a symbol of the power and wealth of the bank. It has been featured in many box-office hits, including the action thriller Dirty Harry which my dad, Joe Cianciotto Sr., first saw in 1971. The exterior features cutaways that recall the rugged Sierra Nevada, and, at a height of 779 feet, the building does feel like it’s on higher ground.
1. Transamerica Pyramid — Towering above the rest of the Bay Area skyline, the Transamerica Pyramid (853 feet high) was designed to let sunlight shine down on the street below it. While Transamerica Corporation no longer occupies most of the building, it still uses the Pyramid in its logo. The building itself has become one of the city’s iconic landmarks, along with the Golden Gate Bridge and City Hall.