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Foster and Rogers go head-to-head in San Francisco

Norman Foster and Richard Rogers are battling it out in California in the contest to design San Francisco's tallest building.

After seeing off hundreds of bids from around the world, the British stars have both been named on an impressive five-strong shortlist by the organisers of the Transbay Transit Center competition.

Omnipresent Spaniard Santiago Calatrava, skyscraper king Cesar Pelli and the local office of global giant SOM have also been selected in the competition for a new skyscraper and transport-hub development.

It is understood the city planners want the new scheme to be 'at least as high' as the city's tallest building, William Pereira's 230m tall Transamerica Pyramid, which has held the record since 1972.

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) will now interview all five practices before selecting which should go forward to draw up detailed proposals for the site in Mission Street - currently occupied by a rundown bus terminal.

The authority wants the new hub to become 'the Grand Central of the West, accommodating eight transportation systems under one roof'.

TJPA executive director Maria Ayerdi said:'As San Francisco's newest landmark, the design element of this project is critical.

'At the same time, its ability to function as an efficient hub for mass transit and the centre of a newly revitalised neighbourhood is of the utmost importance.

'We are looking forward to seeing the final visions for the project bring all of these elements together this summer as we move forward with the second stage of the competition,' she added.

A winner is expected to be announced in August.

by Richard Waite

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