James Turrell (2007)


Central Market: 90 Seventh Street at Mission Street (View Map)

Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez/SF Chronicle/Polaris

Using neon as his only material, James Turrell created Skygarden within a three-story opening in the south facade of the San Francisco Federal Building, designed by Morphosis. During twilight and after sundown, Turrell’s work comes to life, saturating the space with colored light. Seen from the exterior, Skygarden creates a luminous, singular beacon from myriad vantage points. The three-story void appears as a glowing block of color set into the building; a ribbon of neon extends diagonally from the terrace up the façade of the building, following a seam in its perforated metal skin. Another band of light is embedded in the plaza at street level, completing the geometric figure that begins high up on the facade.

Skygarden is lit from dusk until 10 p.m. for exterior viewing. During daylight hours, the space provides views of the sky and surrounding cityscape from its terrace and a pair of suspended walkways. (To visit the San Francisco Federal Building you will need to show an American ID or international passport. Skygarden is accessible by taking the elevator to the 12th floor; a convenient self-guided tour is available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.)

Best Viewing: At night, stand on the south side of Mission Street long enough to see the colors transform. Enter the courtyard below Skygarden for a more intimate glimpse of its street-level band of light running up the façade.

Visit artist James Turrel's other artwork featured in Illuminate SF: Three Gems at the Babro Osher Sculpture Garden at the de Young Museum.

Presenting Sponsor

5M is a new, vibrant mixed-use destination in the heart of San Francisco located at the intersection of 5th and Mission streets. Developed by Brookfield Properties, named “Developer of the Year” by the San Francisco Business Times in 2021, the four-acre parcel was previously home to parking lots and underutilized buildings. Now, it has been transformed into a lively community for locals and visitors alike.