Vanir Tower

Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
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This distinctive addition to Sacramento’s skyline was conceived as part of the ongoing rebirth of the city’s downtown.

Just blocks from the I-80 off-ramp and fronting on the primary J Street artery into the urban core of the city, the Vanir Tower will become a vital component of the rebirth of downtown Sacramento. This 375-foot-tall commercial office building, accommodating 372,000 gross square feet of office and 430 parking spaces (well situated to serve both office and event parking needs), will provide a distinctive and memorable presence on the city skyline, while contributing equally to the commercial development and streetscape revitalization associated with the new downtown arena project.

In response to this initiative, our design seeks to enhance the quality of public space and public life by integrating two primary design components. The first and most dominant is the tower itself, 25 stories tall, including 6 levels of parking above ground level. The second but equally important component is the podium base, which mediates between the tower and its adjacent context by setting back and extending east of the tower, so as to provide a critical façade alignment with the historic bank building to the east, and by projecting beyond the tower on the north and west, so as to define the northern edge of the southwestern-facing entry plaza fronting the tower’s main lobby at the corner of 6th and J streets.

Reflecting our belief in a tall building’s obligation to engage and shape the space of the city in which it stands, the dominant north and south faces of the clear, low-E glazed tower have been inflected in such a way as to create parallelograms with 30-foot slopes from top to bottom, tilted in response to the opposing flows of traffic on J and I streets and giving the tower a striking, iconic profile both at grade and when viewed from afar. The opposing slopes of the façade are reconciled by means of a simple fold dividing the structure’s narrower east and west facades into two triangular faces, which further animate the building mass by creating a play of light and shadow arising from their subtle gestures in opposite directions. This play of crisp geometric form is further enhanced by the engagement of the two western-facing triangles to define the front and back of the main building lobby, as the lower floors of the tower’s primary prow project inward to define the upper zone of the main lobby.

Service access and entry to both below- and above-grade parking is provided at the northern extreme of the lot’s 6th Street side and along Improv Alley, ensuring continuous access to and defining the north side of the 601 J street property. In contrast, generous glazing—with maximum transparency and provisions for two restaurants, a café, and the primary building and parking-shuttle lobby uses—will occupy over 70 percent of the 6th and J Street frontage, as required by the City of Sacramento Planning Guidelines.

Vanir Tower