America’s Favorite Needle Is Getting a $100M Facelift

Apparently this is what it was supposed to look like all along

October 5, 2017 9:00 am

When award-winning architect Tom Kundig of Seattle-based practice Olson Kundig first visited the Emerald City in 1962, it was for the official opening of the Space Needle at the World’s Fair. Now, fittingly, Kundig’s firm has been tasked with overhauling the 55-year-old landmark in order to make it looker closer to original conceptual sketches that were made of it in the ‘60s.

As part of the $100 million Century Project, the firm is installing floor-to-ceiling glass on the interior and exterior of the Needle’s observation deck to free up 360-degree views of the Puget Sound as well as transparent floor pieces which will reveal views of the Needle’s superstructure below. The 176 tons of glass that are needed for the multi-year restoration/renovation project, which is being funded privately, are being split up into 2,300-pounds panels measuring 11 feet high and 7 feet across, pieces large enough to necessitate installing a crane on the tower’s roof.

Expected to be completed by spring 2018, Kundig told CNN that preservation and invisibility are the main themes of the update. “The original idea, of course, is you’re in this unbelievable rotating saucer,” he said. “You’re keeping the magic, keeping the spirit of the original idea and upgrading those things that need to be upgraded.”

Below, let us welcome you to Rendering City; Population: you.

Space Needle (5 images)

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