345 California Center

345 California Center
  1. About the 345 California Center in San Francisco
    1. Prizes & Awards
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectural style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The 345 California Center is a Postmodernist skyscraper designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and built in 1986, for a reported $83.0 million dollars, in San Francisco, CA.

Its precise street address is 345 California Street, San Francisco, CA. You can also find it on the map here.

In 2015 the 345 California Center was awarded with the BOMA Innovative Earth Award.

Architect and team

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

Commonly known as SOM, the firm was founded in Chicago in 1936 and has grown to be one of the largest architecture firms in the world.

Even long after its founders passed away, SOM has remained at the top of worldwide architectural excellence by attracting visionary architects. Amongst their most notorious partners we find names such as Gordon Bunshaft, Bruce Graham, Walter Netsch, Adrian Smith, Myron Goldsmith or David Childs.

SOM has also managed to grow and evolve to tackle the architectural challenges of each time, whatever those might be, and today is committed to aspects as important as efficiency and sustainability, as core values of their designs.

With a legacy spanning decades, SOM continues to shape the skylines of cities around the world, and is a usual contestant in any competition or selection process to design large-scale or iconic buildings and structures.

Skidmore Owings Merrill

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 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 345 California Center a reality:

  • Hathaway Dinwiddie as the Main Contractor
  • Norland Properties as the Main Developer

Architectural Style

The 345 California Center 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 345 California Center was completed in 1986. 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 345 California Center was therefore every much in line with what the architecture community, and the people liked and wanted at the time.

Spaces & Uses

The 345 California Center reaches an architectural height of 620ft (189m), 722ft (220m) if you count the antenna. It has a total of 50 floors, 48 above ground and 2 basements, served by 12 elevators.

In regards to parking space, the building has a total of 180 spots available, which roughly equals 4 spots per floor (above ground).

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1986, the 345 California Center has been a mixed use building. It incorporates 2 main uses, which are commercial, and hotel spaces.

About the Hotel

The hotel is a 5 stars category hotel, with a total of 155 rooms available to the public. The name of the hotel is Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero.

722ft (220m)
620ft (189m)
2 basements

Materials & Structure

The 345 California Center 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 of the building however, is load bearing. This doesn't imply that it is a traditional load-bearing wall. Rather, it means that the structure's exterior pillars have been pushed to the very edges, becoming integrated with the facade, and therefore, technically, a part of it.

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features five different types of granite, larges square windows, and a main entrance framed with brass.

Another material found at the 345 California Center is neolith floor tile, used in the elevators.


  • es.wikipedia.org
  • skyscraperpage.com
  • structurae.net
  • www.345cal.com
  • www.loopnet.com
  • sfyimby.com
  • www.fourseasons.com
  • www.booking.com