• The Transamerica Pyramid

    Maybe you think of Egypt when you think of buildings shaped like pyramids. But a more modern pyramid can be found in San Francisco.

    Fun Facts

    • John R. Beckett, CEO of Transamerica, wanted a building that would not block light to the street.

      The Transamerica Pyramid

    • He hired architect William Pereira to design the building. Not everyone liked the four-sided pyramid design and many people said it was ugly. Today, though, it’s an iconic landmark in San Francisco and people appreciate its modern look.
    • The building was finished in 1972 and, at 48 stories, was the tallest building in San Francisco until 2018.
    • The building has two wings which house the elevators and a spire on top of the building.
    • At street level is a private park with sculptures of a jumping frog and children playing.
    • During construction, onlookers threw several thousand dollars in coin into the pit for good luck.
    • To make the 9-foot thick foundation, workers poured concrete continuously for three days.
    • Near the foundation of the building was the hull of the whaling vessel, Niantic, from the 1849 California Gold Rush era.
    • A red, glass-encased light sits at the top of the tower to warn aircrafts of its presence.
    • The building is believed to have been the target of a 1995 hijacking incident.

    Vocabulary

    1. Iconic: well-known and recognized symbol
    2. Landmark: well-known building or place
    3. Hull: the bones of a ship

    Questions and Answers

    Question: What is the pyramid building made of?

    Answer: Mostly steel and glass, but the exterior is covered in crushed quartz.

    Learn More

    Watch a video about the Transamerica Pyramid building.

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Tobin, Declan. (2020). The Transamerica Pyramid - American History For Kids. American History for Kids. Retrieved from https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/the-transamerica-pyramid/

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