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Foster + Partners and SHVO to revitalize the iconic Transamerica Pyramid Center in San Francisco

The biggest renovation in the building’s 50-year history, this redevelopment seeks to give a new lease of life to one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks and the second tallest building in the city
Foster + Partners and SHVO to revitalize the iconic Transamerica Pyramid Center in San Francisco
Image © Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners has been appointed by SHVO, the luxury real estate development and investment firm, to revitalise the iconic Transamerica Pyramid Center in San Francisco. The biggest renovation in the building’s 50-year history, this redevelopment seeks to give a new lease of life to one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks and the second tallest building in the city.  The project will also expand and upgrade the adjacent Three Transamerica (545 Sansome) to a contemporary high-design office building.

Foster + Partners and SHVO to revitalize the iconic Transamerica Pyramid Center in San Francisco
Image © Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners was selected for its prolific expertise in melding historic architecture with contemporary design, following an invited competition including several other celebrated international architectural firms.

Located in one of the world’s premier gateway cities, and a symbol of San Francisco’s ambition, the Transamerica Pyramid Center encompasses an entire city block in the Financial District. The Transamerica Pyramid, designed by celebrated futurist architect William Pereira and completed in 1972, is emblematic of the skyline.  The broader site consists of two additional buildings – Two Transamerica (505 Sansome Street) and Three Transamerica (545 Sansome Street), and the famed central Redwood Park.

The new Foster + Partners design seeks to revitalize and restore the historic Redwood Park, while tying all three buildings together through a series of strategic interventions at ground level, creating a vibrant new destination in the heart of San Francisco while respecting and celebrating the unique heritage of the site. 

Foster + Partners and SHVO to revitalize the iconic Transamerica Pyramid Center in San Francisco
Image © Foster & Partners

SHVO and Foster + Partners are committed to conceiving high performance office spaces which enhance wellbeing.  The office is reimagined as a living space, with a sophisticated emphasis placed on comfort, hospitality, and flexibility for tenants and guests. In addition to the on-site private members club CORE, hospitality grade amenities and service elevate the offering.  Further incentivizing the return to the office, retail is carefully curated and two floors in the middle of the tower are dedicated to wellness, a lounge and conferencing facilities—all with panoramic city views.  Additionally, the top floor below the spire culminates these amenities with an enchanting private bar and lounge.

Foster + Partners and SHVO to revitalize the iconic Transamerica Pyramid Center in San Francisco
Image © Foster + Partners

Redwood Park – which consists of nearly 50 mature redwood trees transplanted from the Santa Cruz Valley to the site in 1974 and now over 100 feet tall – will also be upgraded and additional landscape will activate the site perimeter. Adding seasonal color to the space, Mark Twain Street - the alleyway from Sansome Street - will be lined with plum blossom trees, leading up to the base of the pyramid featuring curated cafes, shops and restaurants. The project is slated to be completed by the middle of 2023.

Distinguished architectural historian Paul Goldberger, an advisor to SHVO for Transamerica Pyramid Center, said: “The Foster team, known for the sensitivity of its juxtapositions of historic and modern structures, conceived a design highly responsive not only to Pereira’s spectacular original architecture, but to the nature of downtown San Francisco: not a generic redo of a 1970’s tower, but a unique project intended to celebrate a unique modern building, making the most of its exclamation point on the skyline and its presence on the street, uniting the two to become a place like no other.

Foster + Partners and SHVO to revitalize the iconic Transamerica Pyramid Center in San Francisco
Image © Foster + Partners

Lord Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman of Foster + Partners, added: “This is an exceptional opportunity to restore the unique Transamerica Pyramid Tower and its historic Redwood Park, to create a very special destination in the heart of San Francisco. The existing buildings and new additions are tied together by generous landscaping which will breathe new public and community life at the sidewalk level. The previous office areas are reborn as new living spaces, with an emphasis on wellbeing. Working in collaboration with Michael Shvo and his team, we look forward to reinvigorating this truly iconic building.

Foster + Partners and SHVO to revitalize the iconic Transamerica Pyramid Center in San Francisco
Image © Foster + Partners

Norman Foster is renowned for his brilliant treatment of historic buildings and I am thrilled to partner with his team on the important task of redeveloping this extraordinary city block and reinforcing the Transamerica Pyramid as one of the greatest buildings in the world,” said Michael Shvo, Chairman & CEO. “The Pyramid is synonymous with San Francisco, representing the city’s optimism and forward-thinking nature. We have worked closely with the Foster team to respect the Center’s existing history and complement that with contemporary interventions that will only strengthen this magnificent building that stands as a beacon on this city’s skyline.

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