181 Fremont Building

181 Fremont Building
  1. About the 181 Fremont Building in San Francisco
    1. Prizes & Awards
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectural style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The 181 Fremont Building is a Contemporary skyscraper designed in 2008 by Heller Manus Architects and built between 2013 and 2018, for a reported $800 million dollars, in San Francisco, CA.

Its precise street address is 181 Fremont Street, San Francisco, CA. You can also find it on the map here.

In 2019 the 181 Fremont Building was awarded with the AISC National Award.

The 101 Fremont Tower is the first REDi (Resilience-based Earthquake Design Initiative) Gold–rated project in the world, the first U.S. building with an automated emerency evacuation elevator system and the first building in San Francisco with a graywater recycling system.

Building's timeline

Design completed
Construction begins
Construction completed
years ago

Architect and team

Heller Manus Architects was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

Heller Manus Architects was in charge of the architectural design, however, architecture is a complex discipline involving 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 181 Fremont Building a reality:

  • Arup in charge of Structural Engineering
  • Level 10 Construction as the Main Contractor
  • Curtain Wall Design and Consulting, Inc. in charge of Facade Consultancy
  • thyssenkrypp as the company in charge of the elevators system
  • Jay Paul Commpany as the Main Developer

Architectural Style

The 181 Fremont Building can be categorized as a Contemporary building.

Contemporary style architecture builds on top of the principles of Modernism and Postmodernism, but incorporates other variables which might not have been that important in the past, but certainly are today, such as technology, sustainability, inclusivity, and others.

From a historical point of view, it is hard to categorize things from a not-so-distant time, and therefore we choose to categorize most buildings built after the year 2000 as "Contemporary". It is possible that as time goes by and we, as a society, gain perspective on the things happening today, we'll be able to look back and recategorize all these buildings into more concrete subsections, some of which might not even exist today.

Spaces & Uses

The 181 Fremont Building reaches an architectural height of 810ft (247m), 820ft (250m) if you count the antenna, with the last accesible floor being 686ft (209m) off the gorund. It has a total of 61 floors, 56 above ground and 5 basements, served by 17 elevators.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 2018, the 181 Fremont Building has mainly been used as Commercial space, with other complementary uses such as residential space.

820ft (250m)
810ft (247m)
686ft (209m)
5 basements

Materials & Structure

The 181 Fremont Building uses a trussed tube-in-tube structure , with steel columns and concrete slabs.

A trussed tube-in-tube structure uses a central core, known as inner tube, which usually holds stairs, lifts and installations, and a perimeter of columns around it, which form the exterior tube. The interior tube is tipically more massive (often made of reinforced concrete), and the exterior tube is "lighter" (made of steel or concrete columns). Both tubes are conencted via horizontal elements which make up the floors and also transmit any horizontal froces from the facade to the core.

The facade of the building is load bearing. This is a direct consequence of the integration of the exterior "tube" into the facade, something which most trussed tube-in-tube buildings do in order to liberate the interior space from structural elements and achieve a more flexible interior.

So the facade of the builing is techinically load-bearing, yes, however, in between the load-bearing colums we find a curtain-wall type of facade, which by itself would not be cosnidered load-bearing.

The building rests on forty-four concrete piles, 1.52-1.83m in diameter, reaching up to 80m below street level to find the bay's bedrock.

Through complicated engineering, a high-strength steel exoskeleton structural system acts as a giant shock absorber.

Among the innovative design solutions, an advanced viscous damping system was applied within the large trussed beams visible on the tower's facades and in the mega-columns that support the structure. This solution allowed to reduce the weight of the building by up to 300 tones

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features a green-tinted glass curtain wall divided into triangles by massive trussed beams coated in aluminum.

Other materials found at the 181 Fremont Building include, Brazilian Macaubas quartzite, found in the countertops, and Arabescato Corchia marble, seen in bathrooms walls.


  • www.architectmagazine.com
  • www.usgbc.org
  • es.wikipedia.org
  • 181fremont.com
  • www.arup.com
  • www.structuremag.org
  • www.aisc.org