Just off the western edge of the Sacramento River, the office building known as “The Ziggurat” overlooks the Tower Bridge, another one of Sacramento’s unique architectural sites. Built in 1997, The Ziggurat stands out as the lone pyramid-shaped building in the city because, well, it is.

Its architect was Edwin Kado, who originally had a completely different idea for the building – a reversed pyramid that jutted out towards the river. But the client, The Money Store, wanted a symmetrical building. And Kado, while he still wanted to design something innovative, had to think about the client’s preferences and their public image. So, he turned his idea upside down and used the shape of ancient Mesopotamian step pyramids as inspiration. Kado explained that he chose the pyramidal shape because the shape implies stability.

The Ziggurat’s Innovative Commercial Windows

Something fascinating about the exterior of the pyramid is that it appears as though there are no windows. But that would make for a dark and oppressive work environment. Instead, what the builders did was use high-performance glass with a beige dot coating on the exterior to match the surrounding limestone facing.

Earthquake Preparedness: Seismic Dampeners

Another unique aspect of this building, which at the time was state-of-the-art technology, is that it sits on seismic dampeners. It was actually one of the first large commercial buildings in California to be set on these concrete and steel piles. Because of its infrastructure and shape, The Ziggurat can withstand earthquakes of up to 6.9 on the Richter scale.

The Ziggurat is just one of Sacramento’s many unique architectural sites. The city has long been a hub of innovation for commercial and industrial buildings. And since many of the ancient ziggurats and step pyramids around the world are still standing after millennia, it’s safe to say this one will be there for a long time as well.