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July 23, 2020


Photo by Megan Braemore
A main challenge of the Century Project was that the jobsite was only accessible by elevators, one of which was designated for the public.

Century Project

Location: Seattle

Contractor: Performance Contracting Inc.

Architect: Olson Kundig

Team: International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Cement Masons and Plasterers Local 528, Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, CWallA, Drywall Distributors, GTS Interior Supply, Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel, Armstrong World Industries, GC Products, SCAFCO Steel Stud Co.

The Space Needle is Seattle’s most iconic and distinguished landmark. It was originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair as a Space Age example. It stands 605 feet tall and can withstand 200-mph winds. It’s best known for its 360-degree panoramic views of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, Mount Rainier, and downtown Seattle.

A main challenge was that the jobsite was only accessible by elevators, one of which was designated for the public. PCI Seattle Interior managed a plethora of scopes, including fireproofing, drywall, light-gauge steel-framing assemblies; Fellert acoustical plaster; custom- manufactured GFRG wave panels; exterior air- and moisture-barrier; and a unique, radial wood wall surrounding the stairway.

Each phase of work was carried out in extremely tight spaces, requiring creative problem-solving by all trades. Since the Space Needle was still open to the public, construction areas were divided into pie-shaped sections with temporary wall barriers to separate work from the public eye.

A panelized soffit around the entire exterior had to come together perfectly as did the wood wall surrounding the inside stairway. On the Observation Level, new floor-to-ceiling glass walls, glass barriers, and floating glass benches allow visitors to “lean into” the city below. At the 500-foot level, The Loupe is now the world’s only rotating glass floor. The Oculus Stair connects the top three levels with a glass-floored round oculus at its base.

Judges’ comment: “The restoration of this iconic Seattle landmark required tremendous planning and exacting skills. The amazing work completed in the interior space fully captures the Space Age spirit.”

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