101 California Street Building

101 Californica Street Building
  1. About the 101 California Street Building in San Francisco
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectureal style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The 101 California Street Building is a Postmodernist skyscraper designed by Philip Johnson/Burgee Architects and built between 1979 and 1982 in San Francisco, CA.

101 California Street Building is not the only name you might know this building by though. The building is, or has also been known as Itel Building.

Its precise street address is 101 California Street, San Francisco, CA. You can also find it on the map here.

With a large triangular base, the seven-story glass lobby stands out, showcasing the structural columns upon which the building rises. It is accessed through a granite plaza adorned with a fountain and flower beds .

The building underwent a major restoration in 2023. The architect commissioned to undertake this restoration was Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, OJB .

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Construction completed
years ago
  1. 2023 - Revitalization of the public square with access to a new outdoor restaurant equipped with a canopy featuring built-in heaters. Creation of a flexible platform in the center of the square to host various events and unification of the granite pavement between the square and the lobby. Addition of a café lounge on the ground floor and a space on the first floor for tenants to hold informal meetings. The architect in charge was Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, OJB .

Architect and team

Philip Johnson/Burgee Architects was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

But that's not all, there was also a whole team of architects involved, which included: Eli Attia Architects, and Kendall/Heaton Associates Inc..

Philip Johnson/Burgee Architects and the other architects already mentioned were in charge of the architectural design, however, architecture is a complex discipline, which usually involves many professionals from different fields, without whom this building would have not been possible. We will surely be leaving out a lot of names here, but here is a list of the people we do know also played their part in making the 101 California Street Building a reality:

  • CBM Engineers in charge of Structural Engineering
  • Hines Interests Limited Partnership as the Main Developer

Architectural Style

The 101 California Street Building can be categorized as a Postmodernist building.

Postmodernism in architecture emerged in the United States during the late 1960s as a reaction against the starkness of the International Style, which part of the new generation of architects argued was too impersonal, sterile, and disconnected from historical and cultural contexts.

Postmodernism challenged the International Style's austerity by reintroducing historical elements and ornamentation, although this time not as literally as in the Neo-Classic buildings. Instead, they reinterpreted them within the context of modern materials and construction techniques.

Postmodern buildings often feature bold, contrasting colors, unconventional forms, and a playful blend of various architectural elements from different eras and cultures.

In the United States, Postmodernism was not just an aesthetic choice but also a philosophical stance. It represented a democratization of design, where architects sought to create buildings that were accessible and meaningful to a broader range of people, not just designers and intellectuals.

The 101 California Street Building was completed in 1982. At that time Postmodernism was the prevailing style. Fresh, bold and daring, architects were exploring the freedom of designing without having to follow the strict, sometimes arbitrary rules of a specific architectural movement (which ironically became a movement itself). The 101 California Street Building was therefore every much in line with what the architecture community, and the people liked and wanted at the time.

Spaces & Uses

The 101 California Street Building reaches an architectural height of 600ft (183m). It has a total of 50 floors, 48 above ground and 2 basements, served by 24 elevators, which combined offer a total of 1,251,454 sqf (116,264m2) of usable space.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1982, the 101 California Street Building has mainly been used as Commercial space.

600ft (183m)
2 basements

Materials & Structure

The 101 California Street Building uses a frame structure made of steel columns and concrete slabs.

A frame structure uses a combination of beams and columns to sustain the building's weight. The walls in this case are non-load bearing, which allows for more flexibility when distributing the interior spaces.

The facade is non-load bearing either, as it is common in frame structure type buildings.

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features a dark-tinted glass curtain wall.

The floorplan of the building is like a pixelated circle, which when repeated over the 48 floors creates a cylindrical in shape with hinged edges of alternating bands of granite and glass.


  • marketplace.vts.com
  • www.gbig.org
  • en.wikipedia.org
  • www.bcj.com