The Transamerica Pyramid is the tallest and most recognizable skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline. Although the building no longer houses the headquarters of the Transamerica Corporation, it is still strongly associated with the company and is depicted in the company's logo. Designed by architect William Pereira, at 260 m (850 ft), upon completion it was among the five tallest buildings in the world. It houses many businesses now.
The land use and zoning restrictions for the parcel limited the number of square feet of office that could be built upon the lot, which sits at the northern boundary of the financial district. This building was built under the 'Building Codes' to be Earthquake safe.
The building is a tall, four-sided pyramid with two "wings" on either side to accommodate an elevator shaft on the east and a stairwell and a smoke tower on the west. The top 64.6 m (212 ft) of the building is the spire. There are four cameras pointed in the four cardinal directions at the top of this spire forming a virtual observation deck. Four monitors in the lobby, whose direction and zoom can be controlled by visitors, display the cameras' views 24 hours a day. An observation deck on the 27th floor was closed after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and replaced by the virtual observation deck. The top of the Transamerica Pyramid is covered with aluminum panels. During the holiday season of Thanksgiving, and 4 July, a bright, white light is seen on top of the pyramid.