One Montgomery Tower

One Montgomery Tower
  1. About the One Montgomery Tower in San Francisco
  2. One Montgomery Tower's architect and team
  3. One Montgomery Tower's architectureal style
  4. One Montgomery Tower's spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials of the One Montgomery Tower

The One Montgomery Tower is an Art-deco skyscraper designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and built in 1982 in San Francisco, CA.

One Montgomery Tower 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 One Montgomery Tower is also known, or has been known as, Montgomery Tower, Post Montgomery Center, or Pacific Telesis Tower.

Its precise street address is 120 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA. You can also find it on the map here.

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

Architectural Style

The One Montgomery Tower can be categorized as an Art-deco building.

The Art Deco movement flourished during the 1920s and 1930s, with many historians marking the outbreak of World War II as its final decline. Even though a couple of decades might not seem as much, the Art Deco movement had a great impact on architecture, and it's widely represented in many American cities due to the development boom that happened during that time.

Art Deco marked the abandonment of traditional historicism and the embracement of modern living and the age of the machine. In architecture, that meant leaving behind the ornaments of Beux-Arts and Neo-Gothic buildings and instead favoring simplicity and visual impact through geometric shapes, clean lines, and symmetrical designs. Ornaments were still an important part of the design, but they became bold and lavish, and were often inspired by ancient cultures or industrial imagery, instead of nature.

The One Montgomery Tower was completed in 1982, significantly after what could be considered the end of the Art-Deco movement. It was clearly inspired by the movement, but because it doesen't really fit into the movement's timeline it would be considered as a post-movement or neo-movement.

Especially during modern times, there are less imposed rules when it comes to design. Variety and experimentation are welcome, and architects are given the freedom to take inspiration from a wide range of sources.

Looking at the past for inspiration can be a great starting point for an architectural project, and something which Skidmore, Owings & Merrill clearly took advantage of to design the One Montgomery Tower. Architects may choose to look to the past for multiple reasons. It could be that they want the building to merge with an older surounding, give it the feeling of having been there for longer than it actualy has, personal preference or it might even be a requieremnt from the client.

Spaces & Uses

The One Montgomery Tower reaches an architectural height of 499ft (152m), with the last accesible floor being 492ft (150m) off the gorund. It has a total of 38 floors, served by 21 elevators.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1982, the One Montgomery Tower has mainly been used as Commercial space.

499ft (152m)
492ft (150m)

Materials & Structure

The One Montgomery Tower 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 two light tones of colored red granite slabs framing the tempered glass windows with aluminum frames, accentuating each floor with a decoration of small squares. The same material appears in larger panels that frame the four corners of the building, from the ground up.