Iconic Views: The Space Needle Gets a “Spacelift”

Rain or shine, both day and night, the Space Needle offers dazzling, unobstructed 360-degree views that are second to none.  Since the Space Needle opened in 1962, we have had over 62 million visitors enjoy our city from the exclusive sky-high vantage point, capturing all of the Pacific Northwest’s spectacular views.  Excitingly, these views just got even better! We recently completed the first phase of renovation, which has enhanced the experience with expanded views and a heightened observation deck with floor-to-ceiling glass, plus the world’s first and only rotating glass floor, The Loupe.

The Renovation

This was no small project. It took eleven construction partners, five hundred workers, and fifty experts to design and complete the Space Needle renovation.  This privately funded “spacelift” cost $100 million to complete (in this first and most dramatic phase). To put this into perspective, when the Space Needle was originally built in 1962, the entire cost of construction was $4.5 million. Even factoring in inflation, you could build almost three whole Space Needles for the cost of this renovation project!

So why was it necessary to take on such a sizable project? Well, because iconic views must stand the test of time. As we look towards the future, we wanted to create the ultimate viewing experience with nothing in the way, so that everyone can enjoy our beautiful city, from every angle, unobstructed.  The updated tower design and physical systems serve to ensure that Seattle’s most iconic tower is relevant for the next 50 years – giving the over 1.3 million people who visit us annually an unforgettable and uniquely Seattle experience.

Maintaining the integrity of the Space Needle’s character was of the utmost importance during the renovation. The project team, in partnership with local architecture historians, original designers and preservationists, worked hard to expand the Space Needle experience, while diligently respecting its character-defining features.

It’s All About the Glass

One of the most unique and remarkable features of the newly renovated Space Needle is the sheer amount of glass that creates this one-of-a-kind experience.

It starts with The Loupe. Located at 500 feet, the world’s first and only rotating glass floor glides on a steady a 45-minute rotation. The Loupe offers amazing views of Seattle like never before, giving visitors the ability to walk on air while enjoying an exhilarating view of the city below. Watch as the elevators zoom by, and the city bustles right below your feet!

The new observation deck offers breath-taking views of its own. Walls, security cages, and even floors have been removed and replaced with thick layers of glass to enhance the visitors’ experience.  Glass benches called “Skyrisers” offer visitors the chance to lean back and “float” above Seattle.

The new Space Needle renovation features over 20,000 square feet of glass weighing over 176 tons!  But there is nothing to fear, the Space Needle renovation was completed with safety at the forefront. The ten layers of glass that make up The Loupe are much stronger than the standard office and retail floors of most buildings in Seattle.  In fact, you could invite the entire Seahawks defense, and all of the offense teams  they face in the course of a season, to take a group photo on The Loupe – and not break a sweat, much less the glass!

Do you see what I see? 

Much like a wrapped bus or business storefront, the Space Needle has been fitted with a special “fritted pattern”- so while you can see through the glass from the inside, it isn’t possible to look in from the outside.  This is specifically designed in an effort to be consistent with our iconic image.

All the Details

The designers of the Space Needle thought through every last detail. Worried about the rain or dirty glass? Have no fear, our team of Glass Keepers is always on duty- ensuring that views are flawless for every guest.

No matter the weather, the renovated Space Needle offers iconic views and a new, thrilling experience like no other.