From high atop downtown Seattle, the Space Needle may provide an even clearer view of the land below.
As part of a renovation plan, the 1961-built structure could see significant changes to both the observation deck and the mechanism that rotates the restaurant 500 ft above Seattle Center.
Since serving as the focal point of Seattle’s 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle has taken on a few changes over the years, including in the 1970s by installing metal cables and glass as a safety enclosure on the observation deck. The new plan has that cage-like feel giving way to an all-glass barrier to improve the 360-degree views at the 605-ft-tall structure.
The glass won’t stop at the deck, as the Needle’s restaurant would get new floor-to-ceiling glass windows with electrochromic glass to dim as needed for reducing glare and managing interior temperatures. Currently walls and small windows cut off portions of the amazing views.
Original plans by architect John Graham called for all this glass now proposed.
But there’s more glass expected at the Howard S. Wright Construction Co.-built structure. Plans could include putting glass on the floor of the restaurant to open up views of the land below the Space Needle and also expose the mechanics of a new system to rotate the restaurant.
When opened in 1962, the restaurant was the first in the world to rotate, but the Space Needle wants to modernize and smoothen the process with a new system.
The reported $50 million planned for the improvements also includes better accessibility, a new elevator system, upgrades to the plumbing and restrooms and a fresh coat of white paint atop the Needle’s roof.
All the proposed changes still need approval from Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board.
Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.