21003 Seattle Space Needle

  • Product no longer in production

Facts

  • Architect: John Graham & Associates
  • Classification: Observation Tower 
  • Construction Type: Structural Steel Frame 
  • Cost: $4.5 million (1962) 
  • Elevators: 3
  • Footprint: 36.6 x 36.6 m (120 x 120 ft.) 
  • Height: 158 m(518 ft.)
  • Location: 400 Broad Street, Seattle, Washington, United States 
  • Materials: Steel, Concrete and Glass 
  • Pinnacle Type: Lightning Rod 184 m (605 ft.)
  • Stories: 60 
  • Year: 1961 - 1962

History

Viewed as the predominate symbol of Seattle’s skyline, the Seattle Space Needle™ was originally built to be the centerpiece of the futuristic 1962 World’s Fair.

The daring and futuristic construction would meet a good amount of hurdles on its road to completion. Driven by private funds, finding an appropriate location proved to be so difficult that the project was just about to be terminated when suitable ground was finally found, only 13 months before its deadline for the 1962 World Fair.

Due to the condensed construction schedule, the Seattle Space Needle’s legs and observation pod were prefabricated in several sections and then quickly erected and secured in place. To offset the “top heavy” loading, the Space Needle’s center of gravity was lowered all the way down to ground level by means of anchoring the three legs to an oversized solid concrete slab 9 meter (30 ft.) thick, thus matching the entire weight of the exposed structure above.

The deadline for the World's Fair was barely met as the second elevator arrived and was installed just one day prior to the grand opening.

Architect

In 1959, artist Edward E. Carlson made the initial drawings of what would become the Seattle Space Needle™ on a napkin at a coffee house. Inspired by an observation tower in Stuttgart, Germany, the top house first resembled a balloon. It would go through many transformations with the help of architect John Graham & associates before it reached it´s famous flying saucer look.

The theme of the 1962 World’s Fair was unmistakably about futurism and American optimism, and was appropriately named, “The Century 21 Exposition.” The Needle was specifically designed to embrace the “Race into Space” or now more commonly referred to as the “Space Age.” In keeping with the 21st Century theme, even the final coats of paint were dubbed Astronaut White for the supporting legs, Orbital Olive for the core, Re-entry Red for the halo and Galaxy Gold for the sunburst and pagoda roof.