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Photo: Hufton & Crow

The Century Project at the Space Needle

Seattle, Washington

The Century Project at the Space Needle

Seattle, Washington

  • Design Principal

    Alan Maskin

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 is again looking to the future with the Century Project, a significant redesign that will preserve 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 observation deck and restaurant level “core and shell” builds on the same conceptual premise that originally informed the Space Needle – a place devoted to observation. The new design includes the world’s first rotating glass floor on the restaurant 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 is focused on revealing the ingenuity of the original structure, parts of which, including the mechanics of the revolving floor, will be made visible for the first time. Improving the visitor experience was a primary design directive, with the revolving glass restaurant floor being a key component. This new transparent floor will provide 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 includes 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

Team

Photographer: Eirik Johnson
Photo: The Space Needle
Photo: The Space Needle
Photo: The Space Needle
Photo: The Space Needle
Photo: The Space Needle
Photo: The Space Needle

Awards

2020

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

2019

Seattle 2030 District Vision Awards, Leadership Award

2018

AIA Seattle Honor Awards, Honorable Mention

Publications

2019

“2018 Building of the Year.” Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, 9 Feb. 2019. Web.

Binkley, Clayton and Kristen Strobel. “The Century Project: Bringing Seattle’s Space Needle into the future.” Civil + Structural Engineer, Jan. 2019, 32-34. Print.

Binkley, Clayton and Kristen Strobel. “The Century Project: Bringing Seattle’s Space Needle into the future.” Civil + Structural Engineer, 2 Jan. 2019. Online.

Boorstin, Sharon. “Float High Above a Shiny Boomtown.” Los Angeles Times, 20 Jan. 2019, L3. Print.

Boorstin, Sharon. “Float over the city on a weekend escape to Seattle.” Los Angeles Times Online, 17 Jan. 2019. Web.

Fonk, Izabel. “The Rotating Glass Space Needle by Olson Kundig.” Objekt International, 22 Nov. 2019. Web.

Itzkowitz, Laura. “February Will See Art and Architecture Fans Flocking to These 5 Places.” Architectural Digest, 7 Jan. 2019. Web.

Pacheco, Antonio. “Extreme architecture: The great lengths (and heights) of high design.” The Architect’s Newspaper, 18 Feb. 2019. Web.

Pacheco, Antonio. “Olson Kundig’s Seattle Space Needle restoration shines in new photos.” Archinect, 15 Oct. 2019. Web.

Petrunia, Paul. “Olson Kundig’s Alan Maskin on Icons and Architecture for Children.” Archinect, 30 Apr. 2019. Web.

Shim, Bryan. “Olson Kundig redesigns Seattle’s Space Needle with all glass interiors.” Designboom, 18 Oct. 2019. Web.

“Space Needle Renovation / Olson Kundig.” ArchDaily, 16 Oct. 2019. Web.

“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.

2018

Baskas, Harriet. “Seattle Space Needle Makeover Included Selfie-Friendly Glass Benches.” USA Today, 24 May 2018. Web.

Bennes, Crystal. “A Point Worth Making.” ICON, May 2018, 124-135. Print.

Block, Annie. “Olson Kundig Sharpens Seattle’s Space Needle.” Interior Design, 23 Oct. 2018. Web.

“Case Study: Seattle Space Needle’s Renovated Observation Decks Achieve High Thermal Performance With Technoform Spacers.” Publicnow. 3 De. 2018. Web.

Ciummo, Brenna. “Emerald City: An Inside Look At Seattle’s Revamped Space Needle.” Clipper Vacations Magazine, 12 Sept. 2018. Web.

Elliott, Gwendolyn. “Glass Castle: Inside the Epic Space Needle Remodel.” Seattle Magazine, 25 May 2018. Web.

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.

Fazzare, Elizabeth. “The Seattle Space Needle’s Renovation by Olson Kundig Is Unveiled.” Architectural Digest, 8 Oct. 2018. Web.

Gallaher, Rachel. “21st-Century Token.” Gray Magazine, Dec. 2018/Jan. 2019, 46-51. Print.

Gallaher, Rachel. “Destination: Seattle.” Surface, 13 April 2018. Web.

Gallaher, Rachel. “Seattle.” Surface, Mar./April 2018, 84-93. Print.

Gragg, Randy. “A Space Needle Odyssey.” Architectural Record, Sept. 2018, 46-48, 55. Print.

Hansen, Kristine. “Seattle’s Iconic Space Needle Prepares to Unveil a $100 Million Renovation.” Architectural Digest, 16 May 2018. Web.

“Inside Seattle’s Space Needle After Its $100 Million Makeover.” CBS News Online, 24 May 2018. Web.

Keane, Katharine. “Reimagined Space Needle Debuts Revolving Glass Floor by Olson Kundig.” ARCHITECT, 7 Aug. 2018. Web.

Lee, Jessica. “It’s A Wrap!: Crews Reveal Space Needle’s New-and-Improved Observation Deck.” The Seattle Times, 17 May 2018. Web.

Loos, Ted. “Facts & Stat: Space Needle.” The Wall Street Journal Magazine, May 2018, 36. Print.

Loos, Ted. “What’s News: May 2018.” The Wall Street Journal, 23 Apr. 2018. Web.

Pacheco, Antonio. “Olson Kundig’s Space Needle renovations yield pristine 360-degree views 500 feet up.” The Architect’s Newspaper, 5 Nov. 2018. Web.

Riddle, Eric. “The Space Needle: Remaking an Icon.” KING 5, 5 Oct. 2018. Web.

Sanders, Helen. “Pushing the Envelope on Glass Design: Space Needle Renovation.” US Glass Magazine, 7 Dec. 2018. Web. 

Scott, Alec. “Even an icon needs a little work occasionally. Case in point: Seattle’s Space Needle. It’s never looked better.” Los Angeles Times, 7 Oct. 2018. Web.

Scott, Alec. “Sky-high in Seattle.” Los Angeles Times, 7 Oct. 2018, L6. Print.

“Seattle’s Space Needle Gets $100 Million-Plus Makeover.” MSN Money, 24 May 2018. Web.

“Seattle’s Space Needle Gets Upgraded.” CBS News Online, 28 May 2018. Web.

“Sharpening the needle.” Interior Design, Oct. 2018, 34. Print.

Shook, Lindsey. “The Emerald City.” California Home & Design, 1 Oct. 2018, 100, 102. Print.

“Space Needle.” The Jet Set, 18 Oct. 2018. Web.

“Top of the Glass.” The Architect’s Newspaper, Oct./Nov. 2018, 10. Print.

Trejos, Nancy. “Where will U.S. travelers explore in 2019? Top trends, destinations and anniversaries.” Observer & Eccentric Newspapers – Online, 28 Dec. 2018. Web.

Trevino, Julissa. “Seattle’s Iconic Space Needle Unveils New Look After $100 Million Renovation.” Smithsonian.com, 24 May 2018. Web.

Waite, Andrew. “The Space Needle’s New Look.” Alaska Beyond Magazine, May 2018, S21. Print.

“What’s News: May 2018.” The Wall Street Journal, 23 April 2018. Web.

2017

Berger, Knute. “Space Needle Renovation Plans Embrace Future and Past.” Seattle Magazine, 15 June 2017. Web.

Budds, Diana. “A $100 Million Renovation Reveals The Space Needle’s Lost Design.” FastCo Design, 6 July 2017. Web.

Foxe, Ken. “Seattle’s iconic Space Needle set for a $100 million revamp with vertigo-inducing glass floors.” Lonely Planet, 30 June 2017. Web.

Greenstone, Scott. “Space Needle to get its biggest renovation ever: glass floor, opened views more elevators.” The Seattle Times, 12 June 2017. Web.

Hallinan, Bridget. “Seattle’s Space Needle is Getting a Glass-Floored Dining Room.” Conde Nast Traveler, 11 Oct. 2017. Web.

Hojnicki, Carrie. “The Seattle Space Needle is Getting a Face-Lift from Olson Kundig.” Architectural Digest, 19 June 2017. Web.

Leasca, Stacey. “Seattle’s Space Needle Is Getting a New Look.” Smithsonian.com, 27 June 2017. Web.

Leasca, Stacey. “Seattle’s Space Needle Is Getting a New Look.” Travel + Leisure, 21 June 2017. Web.

“Olson Kundig set to overhaul Seattle Space Needle.” Dezeen, 19 June 2017. Web.

“Olson Kundig to Renovate Seattle Space Needle.” Architectural Record, July 2017, 35. Print.

Popera, Ashleigh. “Space Needle’s Renovation Project Begins.” ARCHITECT, 2 Oct. 2017. Web.

“Seattle’s Space Needle is getting its biggest facelift ever- check out the renderings here.” Fast Company, 14 June 2017. Web.

“Seattle’s Space Needle to Undergo $100 Million Minimalist Renovation by Olson Kundig.” US Weekly, 15 June 2017. Web.

Woodward, Benjamin. “Before-and-after images of the Space Needle illustrate its upcoming transformation.” The Seattle Times, 13 June 2017. Web.

Young, Bob. “Circular scaffolding goes up on Space Needle in preparation for makeover.” The Seattle Times, 16 Sept. 2017. Web.