425 Market Street Building

425 Market Street Building
  1. About the 425 Market Street Building in San Francisco
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectureal style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The 425 Market Street Building is an International Style skyscraper designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and built in 1973 in San Francisco, CA.

425 Market Street Building is not the only name you might know this building by though. It is common for companies to want to attach their names to iconic buildings when they move in, or for the general public to come up with nicknames, and this one is no exception. The building has changed names several times over the years, and is also known as:

  • 1 Metropolitan Life Plaza.
  • 1 Metro Plaza until 1973.

Its precise street address is 425 Market Street, San Francisco, CA. You can also find it on the map here.

At the time of its completion in 1973 the 425 Market Street Building incorporated solutions that were quite advanced at the time, these included a high-speed internal system for data transmission, internal office mail, and file sharing.

The building underwent a major restoration in 1988. The architect commissioned to undertake this restoration was Holmes Group.

Building's timeline

Construction completed
years ago
  1. 1988 - The stairs were made safer for fire or earthquake evacuations . The architect in charge was Holmes Group.

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, 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 at the very least we know that there was one other part involved, that was Matropolitan Life Insurance Company as the Main Developer.

Architectural Style

The 425 Market Street Building can be categorized as an International Style building.

The international style originated in Europe in the early 20th century, and made its way to the US a couple of decades later when the rise of the Nazi regime forced figures such as Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, or Mies van der Rohe to flee Europe.

The International Style emerged as a response to the prevailing historicism and ornate architecture styles of the late 19th century, which according to a younger generation of architects didn't represent the new materials and construction techniques that were on the rise at the time.

Architecture in the early 20th century US was marked by the adoption of steel structures, modern construction techniques, and the rise of the skyscraper. As it turns out, this combination of circumstances created the perfect ecosystem for the International Style to flourish, becoming the to-go style for skyscraper designs during the mid-20th century, when American cities were growing fast.

The International Style’s legacy can not only be found in numerous iconic buildings across all major American cities, but also incorporated in contemporary architecture, which still puts a big emphasis on functionality and minimalism.

Spaces & Uses

The 425 Market Street Building reaches an architectural height of 525ft (160m). It has a total of 40 floors, 38 above ground and 2 basements, served by 21 elevators. In total, it has a built-up area of 1,099,995 sqf (102,193m2) offering 944,995 sqf (87,793m2) of usable space.

In regards to parking space, the building has a total of 139 spots available, which roughly equals 4 spots per floor (above ground), or one parking spot per every 6,803 sqf (632m2) of usable space.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1973, the 425 Market Street Building has mainly been used as Commercial space, with other complementary uses such as retail space.

525ft (160m)
2 basements

Materials & Structure

The 425 Market Street Building uses a frame structure made of steel columns and 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 repetitive angled anodized aluminum panels that frame the tinted glass windows. Depending on the angle of light, the blinds cast jagged shadows on the panels enhancing the appearance of the building's exterior .

Other materials found at the 425 Market Street Building include, wood, used in lobby finished, marble, also found in lobby finished, and granite , used for the paved plaza.


  • 425marketstreet.info
  • www.usgbc.org
  • www.holmesgroup.com
  • en.wikipedia.org
  • web.archive.org
  • sfyimby.com
  • www.loopnet.com