You may have seen the recent American Scaffolding post about renovation work underway at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
We too, at Industrial Wire Rope are on a virtual summer road trip, admiring interesting construction activity at some of the nation’s favorite monuments and historical sites.
Our trip begins in the western U.S., appreciating the design and workmanship of the Seattle Space Needle. This structure is an iconic piece of architecture not only to Seattle, but in and of itself. Like the Lincoln Memorial, the Space Needle is getting a facelift this summer. A major facelift! Billed as the “Century Project”, the Seattle Space Needle renovation reportedly has a price tag of $100 Million. That’s a lot of cups of Starbucks!
Seattle’s Space Needle was constructed in 1961 in preparation for the 1962 World’s Fair. It was constructed in a year, a remarkable achievement at that time. Some of the original design components were unachievable in 1961, partially due to the limited time available to complete structure in advance of the World’s Fair, as well as technological limitations of that time.
As if Seattle scenery wasn’t already breathtaking in and of itself, a ride up the Space Needle takes visitors 520 feet above ground and raises “awesome” to an entirely new level. Since its opening in 1962, the Space Needle has offered a panoramic view that encompasses snowcapped Mount Rainier, Elliot Bay and the Olympic Mountains, with downtown Seattle directly below.
According to Architectural Digest, the renovation will leave “few visual obstructions …forty-eight glass panels were added…a new circular stairway—glass-floored, with steel and glass supports—allows guests to move among the three levels. New glass open-air barriers with integral glass benches are affixed to the outer Observation Deck.”
The new glass-floored observation deck rotates, so visitors can take in views in all directions in a matter of minutes without moving a muscle.
The Seattle Public Library has a collection of photography taken during the original construction of the Space Needle. The photos were taken by George Gulacsik, who was a graphic artist and industrial photographer employed by the architectural firm for the project. Gulacsik’s collection numbers over 2,000 photographs and is available at George Gulacsik Space Needle Photograph Collection.
Of course, we zeroed in on just a few that capture industrial wire rope at work. Below are images showing how cranes and wire rope lifted everything from “buckets” of concrete for the foundation of the Space Needle to sections of its core and legs.