Best Tall Building 300-399 meters Winner: Salesforce Tower, San Francisco

Paul Paradis
Senior Managing Director
Hines Interests LP, San Francisco

Edward Dionne
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, New Haven

A Slender Tower Reaches New Heights by Dissolving into the Skyline

Salesforce Tower is the tallest building in San Francisco, joining the Golden Gate Bridge and the Transamerica Building as one of the skyline’s defining elements. It was determined that this tower would be the tallest building in the city, and the first to break the previously established height limit, whose primary function was to ensure no new shadows were cast on neighboring public parks. To accomplish this, the design needed to be as slender as possible, tapering in silhouette as it rises, and became semi-transparent for 150 feet (46 meters) at the top.

Salesforce Tower has implemented a blackwater recycling program that is the largest yet to be used in a commercial high-rise project. It also deploys an innovative mechanical ventilation system that brings 100 percent fresh air to each floor.

The project used a performance-based seismic design, which allowed for a more holistically safe structure. Performance-based design in San Francisco goes beyond meeting code, but all site conditions and calculations were evaluated by a board of esteemed peers over a period of a year. This is the first time a project of this size and magnitude used this exhaustive and time-consuming methodology.

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