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The 605 foot (184 meter) Space Needle was designed by Edward E. Carlson for the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle. The futuristic structure has become a symbol for the city, and is home to festive events such as the annual New Year's Eve fireworks display.

The structure has gone through many transformations. Early plans called for a tethered balloon. Carlson's plan called for a soaring needle topped by a disk reminiscent of a flying saucer. The structure required a 120-foot-square underground foundation. 467 cement trucks spent an entire day filling the hole. The completed foundation weighs as much as the Needle.

Massive steel beams form the slender legs and upper body. The structure is designed to withstand a wind velocity of 200 miles per hour, but storms occasionally force the facility to close. Several earth tremors have caused the Needle to sway. However, the original designers doubled the 1962 building code requirements, enabling the Needle to withstand even greater jolts.

The Space Needle was completed in December 1961, and officially opened four months later on the first day of the World's Fair, April 21, 1962. The Space Needle is in the midst of a $20 million revitalization effort. Nearly every aspect of the 1962 World’s Fair centerpiece has been or is being updated, including the entry level, restaurant, and Observation Deck, all the way down to the grounds surrounding the attraction.

The following information is a press release from the Seattle Needle Corporation.

Pavilion Level
The official World’s Fair poster in 1962 showed a grand spiral entryway leading to the elevators that would take guests up the 605-foot Space Needle. That vision is now a reality with the addition of the two-story, glass-enclosed Pavilion Level. The Pavilion, which replaced the old retail, ticketing and lobby facilities, resembles a transparent nautilus encircling the base.

Skyline Level
The updating of the SkyLine Level – the meeting, banquet and special events facility nestled 100 feet above the Landmark’s base – began Phase II of the Space Needle revitalization project. Using the design direction of the SkyCity restaurant as a foundation, the challenge is to create an atmosphere complementary and clearly associated with the restaurant, but radiating its own unique personality.

Restaurant Level
The eateries known as the Space Needle Restaurant and Emerald Suite were closed forever in March 2000. In their place, a completely new restaurant, SkyCity, was created at the Space Needle. A dynamic new décor, vibrant uniforms, and a fresh new menu featuring a variety of Pacific Northwest entrees is helping establish SkyCity as one of Seattle’s top dining destinations.

Observation Deck
Based on the Space Needle’s “Live the View” theme, the redesigned O Deck offers a 360° unobstructed view. All O Deck activities have been moved to the inside portion of the level, giving visitors a clear walking path and vantage points from every angle. Not since the Landmark opened in 1962 has there been this kind of viewing experience at the Space Needle.

Mirroring the orbiting form of the Space Needle’s “flying saucer” top, and the base addition, the Broad Street turnaround is a circular valet and drop-off area on the south side of the Space Needle, and the gateway to Seattle Center. The north plaza also was redesigned and expanded as a more inviting and alive place for people to meet and gather, with landscaping and seating added.

Legacy Light
The Space Needle’s Legacy Light was first illuminated on New Year’s Eve 1999/2000, and has been shown on major national holidays. A beam of light that shines skyward from the top of the Space Needle, the Legacy Light honors national holidays and commemorates special occasions in Seattle. The Legacy Light is based on the original concept of a beam of light shining atop the Space Needle, as depicted in the official 1962 World’s Fair poster.

For an interactive view of Seattle from the Space Needle Web Cam, search for Space needle web cam.


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