Foster + Partners to renovate Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco

Foster + Partners is set to renovate and restore the iconic Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco.

With its unique pyramidal shape, the 48-storey skyscraper will receive substantial renovation of its interiors, exteriors, and landscape, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Transamerica pyramid from a distance
Foster + Partners will renovate the iconic Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco. This photo and above are by Lipman Studio

"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," said Norman Foster.

The architect and his London-based firm was chosen for the project by real estate investor Michael Shvo, who purchased the skyscraper in 2020.

Originally designed by William L Pereira and Harry D Som, the building will receive expanded open spaces in the areas at its base, and there are plans to expand the complex to some of the surrounding buildings.

The news comes after two years of decreased activity and open offices in San Francisco's downtown district due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Transamerica pyramid renovation outside
The surrounding area will be landscaped and some nearby buildings purchased for the complex

"In the last two years, we've made our homes into our offices, now it's time to make our offices feel like our homes," Shvo told the Chronicle.

Public shopping areas will fill the ground floor of the tower.

Cherry blossoms below Transamerica Pyramid
Mark Twain Alley at the base of the pyramid will be redone with shops

A penthouse on the 48th floor will be converted to a club for occupants of the building, and the luxury experience will carry over to the many offices also undergoing renovation in the story.

The Foster design will see a restoration of the exterior elements of the building, which will keep the name it shares with the insurance company that paid for its construction in 1972.

Interior Transmamerica pyramid
The interiors will be refreshed while maintaining original designs

Renderings released for the project show luxury interiors, as well as a cherry blossom-lined thoroughfare on an adjacent alley called Mark Twain Street.

"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 Shvo in a release.

The Transamerica Pyramid was the tallest building in San Francisco for almost 50 years before being surpassed by the Salesforce Tower by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects in 2018.

Construction on the renovation project is set to begin within the month.

Transamerica Pyramid club interior
An unused penthouse will be transformed into a club

Foster + Partners has worked on other large-scale projects in the Bay Area, including the Apple Park in Cupertino.

The firm also has a number of prospective buildings in the region, such as a stalled pair of crystalline towers, and plans to build a mixed-use complex in a decommissioned power plant on the San Francisco waterfront.

The images are courtesy of Shvo, unless stated otherwise.

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Transamerica pyramid
Transamerica pyramid
Transamerica pyramid
Transamerica pyramid