Space Needle Deck to Reopen After Renovation

MONDAY, MAY 21, 2018

Later this month, visitors to Seattle’s most iconic site will see the result of a yearlong, $100 million project as the Space Needle's new observation deck is unveiled.

Dubbed the “Century Project,” visitors now have unobstructed views not just of the Seattle skyline, but also the inner workers of structure below their feet.

The Project

Karen Olson, the Space Needle’s Chief Marketing Officer, says that this is a “world’s first,” referring to the glass-floor observation deck that will now allow people to see the gears and motors that are powering the floor’s rotation.

But the (literal) transparency doesn’t stop there.

Other new additions include a circular, glass-floored stairway with steel and glass supports that allow guests to move among the three levels of the deck—an option that wasn’t available before.

Glass open-air barriers and glass benches are now affixed to the outer deck, and perhaps the most noticeable change is the replacement of the old steel deck cage that surrounded the space.

Now, observers will be surrounded by 48 glass panels, giving them a completely unobstructed view of the city from 520 feet up. The entire redesign used 10 different types of glass equaling more than 176 tons. The project is aiming for a LEED Silver certification.

“The Space Needle represented a feat of engineering, pointing the way toward the future with a sense of optimism and possibility that has come to define the spirit of Seattle,” said Design Principal Alan Maskin, of Seattle-based Olson Kundig.

“The new design echoes the conceptual ambitions of the original design architects from almost 60 years ago, some of which were unachievable due to their condensed timeline and the technological limitations of that era.”

Some History

The Space Needle was constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair, and this is its third and most expensive renovation.

The project was funded by the Wright family, which owns the structure. In addition to Olson Kundig, Space Needle LLC is working with Tihany Design, Fives Lunc LLC, Arup, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Hoffman Construction, O-Brien & Company, Front Inc., Safway Group, Apex Steel, Herzog Glass and Breedt Production Tooling & Design, in addition to the City of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board.

“I believe we’ll look back at this as a pivotal moment in the history of the Space Needle,” Space Needle LLC Chairman Jeff Wright told The Seattle Times. “This project both connects us back to our roots, to the vision that my father and his partners had when they built the Space Needle in 1962, and guides us forward into the future for generations to enjoy.”


Tagged categories: Color + Design; Design; Glass; North America; Public spaces; Renovation

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