Saturday, August 11, 2007

SF's skyline

San Francisco's skyline will grow much taller if any of the three proposed Transbay Terminal proposals unveiled this week come to fruition (and John King reports that approval of any is still a big if). Each of the three proposed towers would ascend over 1000 feet and stand as the tallest skyscraper on the west coast. The original plans called for shorter towers, but height equals high status to the eyes of many, and so up we go, say the city planners:
[P]ublic officials say the extra height is merited - not just to boost the land sales, but to show that San Francisco continues to measure itself against other cities of global status that are seeing super tall towers proposed or built.
None of the towers are bad, but the Cesar Pelli-proposed obelisk tower is easily the most banal. I think the SOM tower is elegant, and the allusions to the Transamerica tower are nicely understated, which might help alleviate San Francisco's anxiety about "Manhattan-ization." The most unconventional of the three evokes the Golden Gate Bridge--as well as Sutro Tower--encasing the tower in strongly articulated exposed red beams; the building also resembles the Pompidou Center's inside-out structure, but in a more subtle manner. If built, I think it would become one of the more recognizable skyscrapers in the world, which would probably also be true of the SOM tower, but not the Pelli. You can see digital renderings of the projects here, photos of the foam models here, and the Chronicle's article about the proposals here. And here are the sites of the three firms: Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, Skidmore Owings and Merrill, Pelli Clark Pelli.

4 comments:

Ben said...

I think I like the SOM best... the one with the red struts has a weird top...

Do these buildings have special engineering to deal with earthquakes?

David Archer said...

The red struts are a bit unusual and bold, but I don't think the building is, you know, obnoxious, in-yo-face architecture. I'd welcome either bid, while the Pelli is uninspired.

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