Hearst Tower, New York

•March 13, 2008 • 3 Comments

Hearst Tower

Hearst Tower, the world headquarter for Hearst Corporation, is located on the corner of Eighth and 57th in downtown New York City and houses such publications as Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Designed by architect Norman Foster and his partners, the stainless-steal fortress-like skyscraper was named one of “The Best Buildings of 2007” by BusinessWeek magazine.

Forty-six stories high, the Hearst Tower rests seemingly inharmoniously atop a six-story tower base that was built back in 1928 by Joseph Urban. The pedestal sat tower-less for nearly eight decades until Foster, the founder of Foster + Partners, became intrigued by the half-built structure and decided to finish what the Great Depression had stalled.

Although the Hearst Corporation had long since outgrown the location and was split up among 12 separate offices, the company is now finally back at its original home, where synergy and collaboration now abound among its publication leaders and employees. Hearst has credited the unique aesthetics and superior interior design by Gensler for the increased productivity and greatly improved corporate image since relocating to the Tower. Take a look at the building for yourself.

Hearst Tower, New York

Hearst Tower, New York City

Eighth Avenue Tower

Hearst Tower Close Up

Hearst Tower Interior


Coit Tower in San Francisco

•March 11, 2008 • 3 Comments

Coit Tower

Built expressly to beautify the city of San Francisco, Coit Tower sits atop Telegraph Hill as a memorial to the vision of its endower: Lillie Hitchcock Coit. Ms. Coit was a well-known volunteer firefighter, a benefactress to the city, and an eccentric resident of North Beach who was notorious for her antics and affinity for firefighters. She reputedly felt a strong kinship with San Francisco, and when she died in 1929, she left one-third of her estate for the beautification of her beloved city.

Architects Arthur Brown, Jr., designer of the San Francisco City Hall, and Henry Howard are responsible for designing the reinforced concrete tourist attraction, which features the art deco styling that has become synonymous with the 1930s.

Coit Tower in San Francisco

Situated between the Financial District and Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower was built in 1933 as a memorial to Ms. Coit and the San Francisco firemen. The area the tower sits upon was bought by some local businessmen in 1867 to protect it from development; it was later donated to the city on the understanding that it would become Pioneer Park. Today, Coit Tower rests in the midst of the park overlooking and protecting this great city.

Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill

Despite the Tower’s fame, the most interesting thing about this structure is not the building itself, but rather what’s inside of it. The interior is covered in gigantic murals, mostly depicting the hardships Californians experienced during the Great Depression. In addition, the tower’s observation platform rewards its visitors with a matchless panoramic view of the city. When next in San Francisco, walk up the scenic Filbert Steps to this historic spot and take in the view. In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed these photos.

-Benjamin Wey

Transamerica Pyramid

•March 10, 2008 • 2 Comments

Transamerica Pyramid

Symbolic of American commerce and iconic of the San Francisco skyline, the uniquely shaped Transamerica Pyramid was designed by architect William Pereira in the late 1960s to become the headquarters of the Transamerica Corporation and the tallest building in the west. The four-sided spire rests on a historic spot originally occupied by Montgomery Block, the first fire and earthquake-proof building built in San Francisco.

Due to the limited available building space and the threat of earthquakes, Pereira had his work cut out for him when he sat down to the drafting table, but he reveled in the challenge. Likewise, the Transamerica Corporation had some challenges of its own and was required to get special zoning permits, which would allow them to construct a skyscraper on the lot. At first, Pereira’s design met with some opposition, but once completed in 1972, the Transamerica Pyramid became one of the most recognizable structures in San Francisco and beloved by locals and tourists alike.

When ownership of the pyramid transferred to the Dutch insurance company AEGON in 1999, the building retained its original name and strong association with the Transamerica Corporation. Although no longer the company’s headquarters, the Transamerica continues to be depicted in the company’s logo.

After its completion, the Transamerica Pyramid existed as the tallest building west of the Mississippi for two years until it was surpassed in 1974 by Los Angeles’ Aon Center: the brainchild of Charles Luckman, Pereira’s former business partner and architectural rival. Despite losing the title, the building has retained all of its allure as a masterwork of architecture.

Building in San Francisco


Transamerica Pyramid


Transamerica Pyramid at Night


The Golden Gate Bridge

•March 3, 2008 • 13 Comments

Enjoy the following breathtaking photos of the Golden Gate Bridge: a California gem and one of the world’s most recognizable architectural triumphs.

Golden Gate Bridge

Gateway to America

Golden Gate Bridge at Sunrise

Golden Gate Bridge at Sunset

Mario Botta

•February 29, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Former UBS Building

Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) constructed the following stark, towering brick bank with the help of Swiss architect Mario Botta. In 1998, it was purchased by Bank for International Settlements (BIS).


Union Bank of Switzerland built by Mario Botta

Tokyo International Airport

•February 28, 2008 • 2 Comments

Also known as Haneda Airport, Tokyo International Airport is Japan’s busiest airport and features one of the most artistic terminals built in the last decade.

Tokyo International Airport

Haneda Airport

HSB Turning Torso

•February 25, 2008 • 3 Comments

HSB Turning Torso

Designed by the amazing Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, HSB Turning Torso, located in Malmö, Sweden, is the tallest residential building in the European Union. It was patterened after a white marble sculpture Calatrava designed called, “Twisting Torso,” which he replicated after the human body.

HSB Turning Torso

“Twisting Torso” Sculpture