Seattle Space Needle – Opening the Aperture on an Icon

The Seattle Space Needle is one of the world’s most iconic observation towers. Originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle’s owners embarked on a significant rennovation to update and maintain its status as the number one tourist attraction in Seattle. The Architects were challenged to make the experience fresh and exciting whilst maintaining the external appearance and inspirational spirit of this landmark. Olson Kundig made extensive use of structural glass to open the aperture on the views, tripling the area of glass on the project. The result: technical sophistication and authentic design that provides a unique and unparalleled experience of Seattle’s most prized cultural landmark. Each of the systems are described including technical considerations and design outcomes. The principles of risk, reliability, resistance, retention, redundancy, and residual capacity were applied to the development of all new glazing. The Building Information Modeling, mock-ups, and test protocols are also described.

Richard Green

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