Architecture of San Francisco

The architecture of San Francisco is not so much known for defining a particular architectural style, rather, with its interesting and challenging variations in geography and topology and tumultuous history, San Francisco is known worldwide for its particularly eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture. Bay windows were identified as a defining characteristic of San Francisco architecture in a 2012 study that had a Machine learning algorithm examine a random sample of 25,000 photos of cities from Google Street View.

Icons of San Francisco architecture include the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Coit Tower, the Palace of Fine Arts, Lombard Street, Alamo Square, and Chinatown.

San Francisco, California, in the United States, has at least 468 high-rises, 69 of which are at least 400 feet (122 m) tall. The tallest building is Salesforce Tower, which rises 1,070 ft (330 m) and as of July 2017 is the 11th-tallest building in the United States. The city’s second-tallest building is the Transamerica Pyramid, which rises 853 ft (260 m), and was previously the city’s tallest for 45 years, from 1972 to 2017. The city’s third-tallest building is 181 Fremont, rising to 802 ft (244 m).

San Francisco has 24 skyscrapers that rise at least 492 feet (150 m). 9 more skyscrapers of over 150 m are under construction, have been approved for construction, or have been proposed. Its skyline is currently ranked second in the Western United States (after Los Angeles) and sixth in the United States, after New York City, Chicago, Miami, Houston, and Los Angeles.

San Francisco’s first skyscraper was the 218-foot (66 m) Chronicle Building, which was completed in 1890. M. H. de Young, owner of the San Francisco Chronicle, commissioned Burnham and Root to design a signature tower to convey the power of his newspaper. Not to be outdone, de Young’s rival, industrialist Claus Spreckels, purchased the San Francisco Call in 1895 and commissioned a tower of his own that would dwarf the Chronicle Building. The 315-foot (96 m) Call Building was completed in 1898 and stood across Market Street from the Chronicle Building. The Call Building (later named the Spreckels Building, and Central Tower today) would remain the city’s tallest for nearly a quarter century.

Both steel-framed structures survived the 1906 earthquake, demonstrating that tall buildings could be safely constructed in earthquake country. Other early twentieth-century skyscrapers above 200 feet (61 m) include the Merchants Exchange Building (1903), Humboldt Bank Building (1908), Hobart Building (1914), and Southern Pacific Building (1916). Another skyscraper boom took hold during the 1920s, when several Neo-Gothic and Art Deco high rises, reaching three to four hundred feet (90 to 120 m) in height, were constructed, including the Standard Oil Building (1922), Pacific Telephone Building (1925), Russ Building (1927), Hunter-Dulin Building (1927), 450 Sutter Medical Building (1929), Shell Building (1929), and McAllister Tower (1930).

The Great Depression and World War II halted any further skyscraper construction until the 1950s when the Equitable Life Building (1955) and Crown-Zellerbach Building (1959) were completed. Many of San Francisco’s tallest buildings, particularly its office skyscrapers, were completed in a building boom from the late 1960s until the late 1980s. During the 1960s, at least 40 new skyscrapers were built, and the Hartford Building (1965), 44 Montgomery (1967), Bank of America Center (1969), and Transamerica Pyramid (1972) each, in turn, took the title of tallest building in California upon completion. At 853 feet (260 m) tall, the Transamerica Pyramid was one of the most controversial, with critics suggesting that it be torn down even before it was completed.

This surge of construction was dubbed “Manhattanization” by opponents and led to local legislation that set some of the strictest building height limits and regulations in the country. In 1985, San Francisco adopted the Downtown Plan, which slowed development in the Financial District north of Market Street and directed it to the area South of Market around the Transbay Terminal. Over 250 historic buildings were protected from development and developers were required to set aside open space for new projects. To prevent excessive growth and smooth the boom-and-bust building cycle, the Plan included an annual limit of 950,000 square feet (88,000 m2) for new office development, although it grandfathered millions of square feet of proposals already in the development pipeline. In response, voters approved Proposition M in November 1986 that reduced the annual limit to 475,000 square feet (44,100 m2) until the grandfathered square footage was accounted for, which occurred in 1999.

These limits, combined with the early 1990s recession, led to a significant slowdown of skyscraper construction during the late 1980s and 1990s. To guide new development, the city passed several neighborhood plans, such as the Rincon Hill Plan in 2005 and Transit Center District Plan in 2012, which allow taller skyscrapers in certain specific locations in the South of Market area. Since the early 2000s, the city has been undergoing another building boom, with numerous buildings over 400 feet (122 m) proposed, approved, or under construction; some, such as the two-towered One Rincon Hill, have been completed. Several taller buildings are under construction in connection with the new Transbay Transit Center, including Salesforce Tower, which broke ground in 2013 and topped-out at 1,070 feet (330 m) in April 2017. When completed this building will be the first supertall skyscraper in San Francisco and among the tallest in the United States.

Source From Wikipedia