After 25 years as a Silicon Valley techie, what’s next? Maybe trade the 1’s and 0’s of coding for something that “lasts,” like a building? Not just any building, but one that captures the attention of millions every night, say, for 50+ years.
The Transamerica Pyramid, which is approaching its 50th anniversary in 2022, had been the tallest building in San Francisco since its completion in 1972. The new “tallest” is the Salesforce Tower, which was completed in 2018, and, by the way, was built by general contractor Hathaway Dinwiddie (in a joint venture with Clark Construction)—the same general contractor that built Transamerica (though the company was known as Dinwiddie Construction Company back then).
Besides its height, there are many aspects of the Salesforce Tower that set it apart. A few examples: it needed some 40+ piles, driven down 300 feet (that’s a football field in length!) to bedrock so that it could withstand those pesky Bay Area earthquakes.
The building uses a custom HVAC air conditioning system, taking advantage of San Francisco’s mild climate. This system provides many hours of “free” cooling, using outside air instead of a more costly mechanical cooling system. Bringing in fresh air to cool the building does so without consuming significant energy to “condition” air to reach desired temperatures. Providing outside air has the additional benefit of higher indoor air quality, which increases occupant well-being and productivity.
Then, there is the Day for Night display on the top of the building that can be seen for 20 miles. This low-resolution LED creation is the work of artist Jim Campbell.
I have never met Jim Campbell, and, thus, have no idea what prompted him to leave a 25-year Silicon Valley career. I do understand that some folks reach a stage in life where they want to build something “concrete” (no pun intended) that outlasts them. It seems he achieved this in creating Day for Night, a six-story electronic art production, which is sometimes referred to as the tallest piece of art in the world.
PS…The AEC industry suffered a direct blow from the 2008 financial crisis, losing countless executives and employees. The bad news: this time around will likely be worse. The good news: LISA is in the process of developing several online products and services to help soften the blow. Stay tuned.