San Francisco, on the west coast of our continent, is home to many memorable sites, including the Transamerica Pyramid, dressed to kill in crushed quartz and seen here from the waterfront.

The building was designed with both environmental and architectural integrity in mind. While there was opposition to this intrusion on the skyline, optimistic – and accurate – visionaries installed signage around the site in 1969 identifying it as “a San Francisco landmark since 1972”.  Locals and tourists alike can thank enlightened civic officials, who enacted a special shadow ordinance that is no doubt at least partially responsible for the obelisk/pyramid shape which, unlike other skyscrapers, doesn’t preclude filtration of air and light to the streetscape below.

If you worked here, you’d want to be comfortable with height. At 48 storeys and 260 meters (853 feet), the building was completed in 1972 and remains the tallest building in northern California. It’s sturdy, too; while the Pyramid wobbled for more than 60 seconds in 1989’s Loma Prieta earthquake (and its uppermost level travelled almost a foot during the quake), there were no significant injuries to either occupants or the building, which received LEED Gold status in 2009 and Leed Platinum status in 2011.

A couple of lesser known tidbits? The building is situated on what was, long ago, the city’s waterfront; city officials came to this conclusion when excavation yielded ship remnants. Its location, the Bay Area, is also home to Laura Macky, a photographer whose work and spirit I admire.

What I appreciate about this image, as much as the significance of the architecture, is the setting framing it. Call me a water baby, for oceans, inlets, bays and so on always steal the show for me, but I also love the repetitive ripples of the dock, flanked by proud, stalwart lamp posts.


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