Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sacramento high rise update

I have a deep fascination of high rise buildings and the design, planning, and construction of those buildings, as detailed in this past post on my blog. I took my kids for a walk downtown on this past Tuesday morning and I thought I would fill you in on some of the upcoming buildings I mentioned in the previous post.

First, the disappointing news: The twin 53 story condos that were to be built at Capitol Mall and I-5 are dead. They will not be built, and now there is a huge dirt lot at that location that will need to be filled with something. Now that it's official that these buildings will not be constructed, we can only gaze at the rendering of what could have been:

What a bummer. However, there is good news for two other high rises that actually are currently under construction. The kids and I checked progress, and I took some photos. First, the U.S. Bank Tower, which when finished will look like this:

Is coming along quite nicely. When last I blogged about this tower, the skeleton was just about completed. Now, here is the progress I snapped from Capitol Mall and 8th Street:

Isn't it amazing to see the rendering, then see a photo of the actual dream-turned-into-a-reality? Here is a closer, more dramatic view from directly across the street:

Majestic, isn't it? Click on the pic and you can see some of the construction workers putting one of the glass panels into place on the right side of the building about a third of the way up.

If you walk further west down Capitol Mall, you can see progress on another tower which is still in the foundation/pile driving stage. When completed, 500 Capitol Mall will look like this:

But in the meantime, they have gotten this far:

It's so funny to watch all these men plodding along, and if you watch for just 10 or 15 minutes, it seems as if nothing is getting done, even with all the busyness going on. But somehow, after weeks and weeks, you begin to see a steel and glass tower start to poke its head into the horizon.

Steel and glass is impressive, but some good old fashioned 19th century architecture can be a joy as well. Sacramento, being the Gold Rush town that it is, has plenty of examples of architectural blasts from the past, such as the Stanford House, Governor's Mansion, and K Street Cathedral. But for my money, none of these quite measure up to the Capitol Building (completed in 1874), at which I could never tire of gazing:

They just don't make 'em like they used to. Just think, somewhere in that building is a six-foot, funny-talking Austrian movie star with big muscles who somehow got himself elected governor of the most populous state in the Union. Only in Kah-lee-fawn-eeha!

Good Day to You, Sir


Darren said...

What about the Aura tower?

And about the Capitol: I used to be overly impressed with it, until I finally got close to the US Capitol in DC. Its immense size dwarfs ours. Hard to believe until you actually see it.

Not that our state Capitol isn't impressive or beautiful, it's surely both. It's just that now, it'll compete with the US Capitol in my mind, and be found somewhat lacking.

Chanman said...

The Aura Tower is still just a vacant lot with some construction equipment and a vanity billboard showing the architect along with the line: "The Man, The Vision".

ms-teacher said...

to me there was nothing more inspiring when I worked at the Capitol than walking into work. (Now if only the politicians weren't there to ruin everything . . .)