"The Loupe"
Courtesy Space Needle "The Loupe"

After almost a year of work, the Space Needle has revealed its $100 million restoration and renovation, completed by Seattle-based Olson Kundig. In an effort to improve the visitor experience, the firm updated the observation deck, connected the upper and lower levels with a spiral staircase, and added a revolving glass floor called "The Loupe."

"The original designers of the Space Needle dreamed big, and we continued their vision with this renovation," said Space Needle chief marketing officer Karen Olson in a press release. "With glass walls, glass barriers, glass benches, and even glass floors, visitors can feel like they’re floating over the city.”

Outdoor observation deck
Courtesy Space Needle Outdoor observation deck

Motivated to improve views from the 605-foot-tall structure's open-air observation deck, Olson Kundig replaced existing wire caging and partial walls with 11-by-7-foot structural glass walls installed at a 14-degree angle, with 24 integrated glass benches called "skyrisers" that give the visitor an unobstructed panorama of the city. The indoor observation deck also features the floor-to-ceiling glass panels.

"The Space Needle has always been a treasured place where we can observe the contrast between the changing city of Seattle juxtaposed against the natural resources that surround it," said Olson Kundig design principal and partner Alan Maskin on the firm's website. "Our design ‘widens the lens’ of that human perspective."

New stairwell
Courtesy Space Needle New stairwell

The team connected upper and lower levels of the tower via a circular, steel-and-glass staircase cantilevered out from the tower's core. The base of the stairway features a glass-floored oculus through which visitors can glimpse the Space Needle's internal structure, as well as ascending and descending elevators.

View through the new glass floor of the Space Needle
Courtesy Space Needle View through the new glass floor of the Space Needle

At the lower level, Olson Kundig also replaced existing partial glass walls with new panels in the Atmos Wine Bar for improved views and installed "The Loupe" revolving glass floor, through which visitors can view the structure of the Space Needle from 500 feet in the air.

“This reinvestment ensures the long-term viability of the Space Needle,” said Space Needle CEO Ron Sevart in the same release. “We have a commitment to our team members, our guests, and to the community to preserve the Space Needle as a civic and cultural icon for future generations.”

Before (left) and after (right)
Courtesy Space Needle Before (left) and after (right)