(PHOTO AND STORY: KHQ.COM)
The Space Needle announced plans Monday to make renovations to Seattle's iconic landmark. The multi-year project will update the structure's physical systems and elevate the visitor experience by dramatically enhancing the view.
The privately funded project will heighten the Observation Deck experience with floor-to-ceiling glass on the interior and exterior to further open up the uninhibited 360-degree view of the Puget Sound area. The restaurant level will have a first-of-its-kind glass rotating floor.
Half a century after the Space Needle was built for the 1962 World's Fair, officials say the project will help the Space Needle reemerge with a guest experience and sustainable improvements intended to keep the landmark relevant for the next 50 years and beyond.
"I believe we'll look back at this as a pivotal moment in the history of the Space Needle," said Jeff Wright, chairman, Space Needle LLC. "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."
Construction is expected to begin on the project in September 2017.
Key features of the renovation include:
- New glass structural barriers will replace the wire safety "caging" on the outer open-air Observation Deck.
- The new exterior glass barriers will match the flow of the building, dipping outward at a small angle, offering a seamless sight line.
- Sleek, canted glass benches will be affixed to alternating glass barriers on the outer open-air Observation Deck.
- In the interior, floor-to-ceiling glass will take the place of low-level exterior walls creating uninhibited views from the moment guests step off the elevator.
- In the interior, a dramatic new open circular stairway made of steel, wood, and glass will wind down from the Observation Deck to the restaurant level. At the base of the new open stairway will be a glass-floored oculus revealing views of the Space Needle's steel superstructure, as well as the elevators and counterweights ascending and descending.
- The restaurant level will also feature floor-to-ceiling glass and will upgrade its original rotating floor to one of glass, creating an awe-inspiring new view - a look down to the Space Needle's structure itself, the mechanics of the rotating floor, and the sprawling Seattle Center campus below.
- On the Observation Deck, there will be improved accessibility with a custom-designed, state-of-the-art ADA lift and improved access with the addition of double-sized doors and wide stairways allowing for a more gracious, crowd-friendly ingress and egress to the outer deck.
Check out the video below for renderings of what the project will look like: