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Spotlight: The Century Project at the Space Needle, 2021 GRAY Awards Finalist

A closer look at the Century Project at the Space Needle, one of five finalists in the 2021 GRAY Awards Commercial Architecture category.

The Century Project at the Space Needle

The Century Project at the Space Needle, Seattle Washington Commercial Architecture

Originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle has become an international icon of the Pacific Northwest and the identifying symbol of the Seattle skyline. Constructed in just over a year, the Space Needle pointed the way toward the future with a sense of optimism and possibility.

After 50 years, the Space Needle began exploring ways to update its visitor experience. Guest surveys revealed that the original thrill that people experienced when they first stepped off the Space Needle’s elevators in 1962 had been lost overtime, muddied by decades of interior renovations. In its 55th year, the Space Needle again looked to the future with the Century Project, a significant redesign that preserves the Space Needle’s legacy by creating a new visitor experience for the next half century. 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 design team critically reviewed every component of the tower, removing any element that detracted from this experience of observation and inhibited external views. As a result, the renovated Space Needle incorporates 196% more glazing throughout the top house. This is especially dramatic on the observation deck, where interior windows have been enlarged to frame views in every direction. Outside, angled glass barriers and integrated glass benches allow visitors to 'lean over the edge,' providing a thrilling view of the city below. A new central staircase, clad in warm-hued wood, culminates in a glass oculus that highlights views of the Space Needle’s structure. A new rotating glass floor—the first of its kind in the world—also showcases the Seattle Center cultural campus below. This enhanced sense of transparency restores emphasis to the original guiding principle of the visitor experience: providing unparalleled views of the city.

The Century Project at the Space Needle, Seattle Washington Commercial Architecture


Design Team:

Design Principal: Alan Maskin

Project Architect: Blair Payson, AIA, LEED® AP

Architectural Staff: Marlene Chen, AIA, LEED® AP, Crystal Coleman, LEED®

AP, Alex Fritz, Julia Khorsand, Hayden Robinson and Nathan Boyd

Interior Design: Naomi Mason, IIDA, LEED® AP

Interior Design Staff: Laina Navarro


Development Manager: Seneca Group

Owner’s Representative: Battle Management Consulting

General Contractor: Hoffman Construction

Structural Engineer and Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Engineer of

Record: Arup

Seismic Improvements Structural Engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates

Mechanical and Plumbing Design Assist Subconsultant: Holaday-Parks, Inc.

Electrical Assist Subconsultant: Holmes

Glazing Consultant: Front, Inc.

Lighting Design: Niteo

Building Envelope Consultant: RDH

Restaurant and Café Furniture and Finishes Designer: Tihany Design

Restaurant, Café and Kitchen Architect of Record: McVey Oakley

Turntable Engineer: Fives Lund Engineering

Acoustical Engineer: BRC

Accessibility Consultant: Karen Braitmayer

Code Consultant: T.A. Kinsman Consulting

Fire Protection Consultant: Eric Tuazon

LEED Consultant: O’Brien & Company

Vertical Transportation: FS2, Inc.

Photography: Hufton Crow

Date of Completion: October 2019


Additional Architecture, Commercial finalists:

Alton Wines

AutoCamp Yosemite

Blu Dot Showroom

Comedor Restaurant

Check out the Quick List to see all of the 2021 GRAY Awards finalists!


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DEC 10, 2021 | 7pm PST

The Westin Seattle

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