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Space Needle Will Undergo Major Renovation

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

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An iconic Seattle structure will be undergoing renovations, but the changes certainly won’t impact the skyline.

The Space Needle—originally constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair—will be undergoing its third major renovation, which is its largest to date. The structure turned 55 this year, and plans to update the skyscraper’s interior include replacing the interior walls, doors and window supports with glass panels and floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

Images: Space Needle

To match the ongoing theme of the renovation, the staircase will be made of steel, wood and glass, and at the base of the staircase, a glass-floored oculus will reveal the Needle’s steel superstructure.

This endeavor, known as the Century Project, arrives in the wake of criticism by guests, indicating that the Space Age piece of architecture seemed “tired and dated,” according to The Seattle Times.

Renovations

In September, renovations will begin on the observation deck. According to The Times, each section will be done individually, like a slice of pie, to prevent the observation deck from being shut down entirely. The CEO of Space Needle LLC, Ron Sevart, told the Times that the observation deck-cage, window supports, interior walls and thick doors “prevent” great views of Seattle. All of these will be replaced with glass panels and floor-to-ceiling windows.

“It’s about getting out of the way of the view,” Sevart said. The new panels for the observation deck will be tilted outward to prevent glare, while alternate sections of glass will be fitted with glass benches.

An open circular stairway will lead from the observation deck to the restaurant below. To match the ongoing theme of the renovation, the staircase will be made of steel, wood and glass, and at the base of the staircase, a glass-floored oculus will reveal the Needle’s steel superstructure.

Down in the restaurant, the famous rotating floor will also be replaced with glass, which, according to the company, will make it the first glass-floored restaurant in the world. The restaurant is to close from September 2017 to late May 2018 while renovations are being completed.

Space Needle

In September, renovations will begin on the observation deck.

Down in the restaurant, the famous rotating floor will also be replaced with glass, which, according to the company, will make it the first glass-floored restaurant in the world. The restaurant is to close from September 2017 to late May 2018 while renovations are being completed.

Other renovations for the Needle include wider stairs, double doors and a custom-designed ADA lift.

Private Funding

The latest renovation of the Space Needle—which is currently estimated at $100 million and is the largest investment to date—will be funded privately by the Wright family, who own the structure. Space Needle LLC is working with design firm Olson Kundig on the exterior, and Tihany Design on the interior of the restaurant. With respect to keeping the Space Age piece intact, local architecture historians and preservationists, as well as the City of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board, have been consulted.

“I believe we’ll look back at this as a pivotal moment in the history of the Space Needle,” Space Needle Chairman Jeff Wright told The 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.”

Previous renovations have included the 1982 addition of the SkyLine event space, and the Pavilion entrance, which was put in with additional retail space, added in 2000. The latest revamp is slated for completion in 2018.

   

Tagged categories: Building design; Renovation

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