The Salesforce Tower, a 1,070-foot-tall building in the Financial District that’s set to open sometime in 2018, is the second-tallest manmade structure west of the Mississippi River. But the high-testosterone contest of wills that characterizes overtly phallic, super-tall architecture is always plagued by two questions: What goes on top, and does it count toward the overall size?
This was an issue with the perfectly girthy One World Trade Center, which is technically 1,776 feet tall — but only when you count what is obviously an antenna as somehow integral to the overall structure, which it so is not. The building’s roofline is only 1,368 feet up. So we have at least one cheater adding extra length to their package, especially in online profiles. Meanwhile, down in Los Angeles, the Wilshire Grand Center will soon become the tallest building in California and the 10th tallest in the United States, edging out the Salesforce Tower by about 30 feet. Unlike most L.A. skyscrapers, this one doesn’t have a flat roof to support a helipad — as the city no longer requires circumscription for hasty rooftop emergency exits. So this uncircumscribed building wins the measuring contest — for now.
However, the Salesforce Tower will draw extra attention to its tall, tapered tip with an LED display by Jim Campbell that will portray scenes from San Francisco, making it the world’s tallest public art piece. Alas, Wilshire Grand is set to get its own LED adornment, as well. So what is San Francisco to do, to top the competition?
We may have the answer: a gushing fountain. Concerned citizen Micah Berns has created a Change.org petition calling for a “majestic” fountain to be placed at the the tip, well above the elevator shafts and the building’s corpus cavernosum, that will eject water in a showy display of red-blooded engineering. When pumps deep in the basement are worked just right, “two spherical tanks” will engorge the building with fluid that can later be captured for later reuse after it dribbles down the sheath. Because sometimes, you’re in a real dry spell.
There are still hurdles to overcome, however. For example, how hard does the Salesforeskin Tower’s superstructure have to get? And how much of a load can it handle?
But it’s a master stroke, really. And more than 200 people have joined in this all-hands effort, which means the endeavor is right there on the edge. We’re so close.
Architecturally speaking, you might almost call this proposed enhancement a vast difference.