Anyone who explores San Francisco’s Transbay district today encounters a slice of a city in flux. At one extreme, structural steel pushes toward the sky and straddles gridlocked streets. At the other, alleyways sprout life that would have been unimaginable a generation ago.
And the show is only getting started.
Even as the city’s to-be-tallest building rises slowly at First and Mission streets — Salesforce Tower will top off at 1,070 feet, reaching 200 feet past the Transamerica Pyramid — two other distinctive high-rises are set to start construction at First and Folsom streets this spring.
That’s also when the city’s Planning Commission is likely to vote on a two-tower package at 50 First St. that would look down on the Pyramid as well.
By the time the dust settles, First Street will have been transformed from a traffic chute heading toward the Bay Bridge into a tower-lined corridor, with the newcomers showing a level of architectural ambition that too many of our recent upstarts lack — an ambition that includes a desire to engage the city on the ground, not just in the air. […]