One Montgomery Tower

One Montgomery Tower
  1. About the One Montgomery Tower in San Francisco
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectureal style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The One Montgomery Tower is a Postmodernist 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 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 One Montgomery Tower 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 One Montgomery Tower was therefore every much in line with what the architecture community, and the people liked and wanted at the time.

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.