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Completed in 1972, the Transamerica Pyramid is the tallest structure in San Francisco and is arguably the most iconic and identifiable skyscrapers in the city?s skyline. However, the building was not immediately accepted by San Franciscans. When the blueprint of what would be the new head office of the Transamerica Company was revealed to the public in 1969, numerous residents contested its construction. They argued that the modern and avant-garde appearance of the tower would not suit San Francisco?s charming ambience flanked during that time with ornate Victorian houses. Transamerica Pyramid?s architect William Pereira argued back citing that the pyramid is the best form for skyscrapers as it allows better ventilation and natural light to enter the building, as well as it would be an architectural statement. Pereira proved to be right as the Transamerica Pyramid remained to be one of the most recognized and acclaimed structures in San Francisco.

The Transamerica Pyramid was constructed from 1969 to 1972 at the site where the famous and legendary Montgomery Block once stood ? the first fire-proof and seismic-resistant building in San Francisco. When it was finished, the Transamerica Pyramid was the fifth tallest building across the globe and overtook the Bank of America Center as the tallest building west of Mississippi, a title it held for two years before it was surpassed by the Aon Center located in Los Angeles.

The design of the building employed a four-sided pyramid design with a couple of ?wings? on two sides to make room for an elevator shaft found on the structure?s east side and a smoke exhaust and stairwell on the opposite west side. The Transamerica Pyramid is crowned with a spire with four cameras pointing at all directions to create a modern and state-of-the-art observation deck. Guests can manipulate four monitors found in the building?s lobby where they control the cameras? views and is accessible the whole day. Another observation deck which was used to be located on the building?s 27th floor was closed down following the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. The zenith of the pyramid is a glass pyramid and every 4th of July and Thanksgiving, this topmost point emits a bright white light.

Transamerica Pyramid?s exterior is covered with powdered quartz giving the structure its pure white radiance. Two plaques can also be found at the building grounds. The first plaque is to pay tribute to Bummer and Lazarus, the two famous stray canines who were known for their unique bond. The second plaque is to mark part of the wreck of the whaling ship Niantic which was used during the peak of the California Gold Rush. The artifact is buried almost directly beneath the pyramid.
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