It's a rare thing when a piece of architecture can become a true icon, but the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco is arguably as famous as the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, and the Empire State Building as a symbol of its city.
Like most towers of its size, it was originally derided by locals as being alien to San Francisco, a product of corporate greed and imported L.A. flashy architecture (designed by William Periera).
But if you asked them today, I'm sure but all of a few crusty old geezers would tell you that it is an absolutely wonderful pinnacle to their city.
The base is a truly brutal disaster, a concrete mess of jumbled triangular geometry, but there is a small redwood park that attempts to soften it a little. The precast concrete facade tapers up 48 stories, and oddly the window surrounds actually give a small hint of vernacular San Francisco bay windows.
The tower tapers so much that the elevator cores actually break free of the pyramid and form 'wings' at the top. The building is capped by a further continuation of the pyramid, lit up at night, but unfortunately a bit muted.
I believe there is a rotating aircraft beacon at the top as well, but i'm not sure if it's in use.
The pyramid isn't a great shape in terms of leasable space for an office tower, as the 48th floor of this tower is a mere 5,400 SF! Still, it projects a profile that is forever memorable and is a true icon for the city of San Francisco.