Sunday, September 4, 2016

Anatomical envy of the Nor-Cal / So-Cal sort

As everyone knows, the Salesforce Tower continues to rise in downtown San Francisco.

You can stay quite up to date on the progress via the web-cam.

For a while, it seemed like the biggest controversy about the Salesforce Tower was whether its construction was causing the sinking of neighboring buildings, but now there is news of a controversy of a different sort.

A few hundred miles to the south, another mammoth tower is nearly complete: The soaring crown on L.A.'s new tallest skyscraper points to the future of the skyline, and it turns out that they, too, have their eyes on the Salesforce Tower.

One of the first skyscrapers downtown — the Union Bank building, completed in 1967 — was 516 feet tall. Since then, a half-dozen high rises have pushed into the 700- to 1,000-foot range, including the US Bank Tower at 1,018 feet. The Wilshire Grand was “a tree in a forest of tall trees,” as they explained to FAA officials in their early conversations.

But last November — with the engineering for the sail and the spire finalized at 1,100 feet — the FAA issued what seemed to be its final report. If “reduced in height so as not to exceed 1,065 feet,” it read, the Wilshire Grand would not be an obstruction.

The team thought there was a mistake. The prospect of lopping off 35 feet from the spire was not just untenable; it would be “a huge embarrassment,” said Chris Martin, chief executive of A.C. Martin Partners. The city, the architects and the owner had touted the building as the tallest in the West, and they were not about to cede ground to Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, coming in at 1,070 feet.

No word yet on what sort of attachment Benioff plans to bolt on to the Nor-Cal monster to up the ante...

UPDATE: Don't miss this wonderful story (and video) about the spire at Curbed Los Angeles: Watch the Wilshire Grand get its spire, making it the tallest building in Los Angeles

The decorative piece was installed in eight segments. The top piece is an LED beacon that can be programmed to light up in varying colors. "The intention behind this is to use the Spire Tip light to celebrate special events in the city such as holiday colors in December or special events in Los Angeles such as Dodger Blue when they win the Pennant," says Chris Martin, CEO and Chairman of AC Martin, the building’s designers.

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