The Century Project at the Space Needle
The Century Project at the Space Needle
Originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle has become an international icon of the Pacific Northwest and a symbol of Seattle. Constructed in just over a year, the Space Needle pointed the way toward the future with a sense of optimism and possibility. In its 55th year, the Space Needle again looked to the future with the Century Project, a significant redesign that preserves the Space Needle’s legacy by creating a new visitor experience for the next 50 years.
Led by Design Principal Alan Maskin, Olson Kundig’s design of the Space Needle’s new “core and shell” builds on the same conceptual premise that originally informed the Space Needle – a place devoted to observation. The design includes the world’s first rotating glass floor on the lowest level, floor-to-ceiling glass barriers with integral glass benches on the observation deck, a new steel and glass stairway with a glass-floored oculus connecting all three floors, and revised interiors throughout the “top house” of the Needle. The Space Needle’s new enhanced sense of transparency continues Olson Kundig’s longstanding interest in breaking down lines that demarcate inside and outside, bringing emphasis back to the Needle’s original guiding principle: providing unparalleled views of the city.
Olson Kundig’s transformation of the landmark tower focused on revealing the ingenuity of the original structure, parts of which, including the mechanics of the revolving floor, are made visible for the first time. Improving the visitor experience was a primary design directive, with the revolving glass floor being a key component. This new transparent floor provides a 360-degree rotating window that guests can walk on, revealing a new view down the Needle’s steel superstructure to the Seattle Center campus below. The scope of the project, which is certified LEED® Gold for Commercial Interiors, also included necessary mechanical, building envelope and structural updates such as seismic retrofitting and accessibility improvements.
The new design allows visitors to witness the constantly changing city of Seattle below them – as the Space Needle was always intended to do – and see the engineering brilliance of the structure in new ways.Alan Maskin
AIA National Honor Award – Architecture
The Facade Tectonics Institute’s Vitruvian Honors & Awards, Runner Up, Outstanding Facade Renovation
AIA Northwest and Pacific Region Design Awards, Merit Award
Architect’s Newspaper Best of Design Awards, Honorable Mention, Renovation
Engineering News-Record National Best of the Best Project Awards, Renovation/Restoration Best Project
Engineering News-Record Northwest, Renovation/Restoration Best Project
Interior Design Best of Year Award Winner, Entertainment Category
Seattle 2030 District Vision Awards, Leadership Award
AIA Seattle Honor Awards, Honorable Mention
Berardi, Erica. “Best of the Best 2020.” Engineering News-Record, 15 Mar. 2021, 46-51. Print.
“Coming Full Circle.” Buildings, Apr. 2021, 27. Print.
Margolies, Jane. “Best of Year – Entertainment.” Interior Design, Jan. 2021, 34. Print.
“16 projects win AIA NW&PR design awards.” Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, 14 Oct. 2020, 2. Print.
“Alan Maskin.” Puget Sound Business Journal, 30 Oct. 2020, 43. Print.
Williamson, Bess. “Call to Access.” Metropolis, May. 2020, 2, 79-88. Print.
Binkley, Clayton and Kristen Strobel. “The Century Project: Bringing Seattle’s Space Needle into the future.” Civil + Structural Engineer, Jan. 2019, 32-34. Print.
Boorstin, Sharon. “Float High Above a Shiny Boomtown.” Los Angeles Times, 20 Jan. 2019, L3. Print.
“The World’s Most Innovative Companies.” Fast Company, Mar.-Apr. 2019, 40. Print.
“X-Treme Construction.” The Architect’s Newspaper, March 2019, 14-15. Print.
Bennes, Crystal. “A Point Worth Making.” ICON, May 2018, 124-135. Print.
Elliott, Gwendolyn. “Glass Castle.” Seattle Magazine, June 2018, 23, 26. Print.
Enlow, Clair. “Hilarious overabundance of good work greets AIA awards jury; 13 projects win.” Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, 7 Nov. 2018, 1, 3, 8. Print.
Gallaher, Rachel. “21st-Century Token.” Gray Magazine, Dec. 2018/Jan. 2019, 46-51. Print.
Gallaher, Rachel. “Seattle.” Surface, Mar./April 2018, 84-93. Print.
Gragg, Randy. “A Space Needle Odyssey.” Architectural Record, Sept. 2018, 46-48, 55. Print.
Loos, Ted. “Facts & Stat: Space Needle.” The Wall Street Journal Magazine, May 2018, 36. Print.
Scott, Alec. “Sky-high in Seattle.” Los Angeles Times, 7 Oct. 2018, L6. Print.
“Sharpening the needle.” Interior Design, Oct. 2018, 34. Print.
Shook, Lindsey. “The Emerald City.” California Home & Design, 1 Oct. 2018, 100, 102. Print.
“Top of the Glass.” The Architect’s Newspaper, Oct./Nov. 2018, 10. Print.
Waite, Andrew. “The Space Needle’s New Look.” Alaska Beyond Magazine, May 2018, S21. Print.
“Olson Kundig to Renovate Seattle Space Needle.” Architectural Record, July 2017, 35. Print.