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Space Needle

Seattle's Space Needle to Undergo $100 Million Minimalist Renovation by Olson Kundig

12:30 - 15 June, 2017
Seattle's Space Needle to Undergo $100 Million Minimalist Renovation by Olson Kundig, Outer Open-Air Observation Deck (after). Image © Olson Kundig
Outer Open-Air Observation Deck (after). Image © Olson Kundig

One of the world’s most recognizable landmarks, the Seattle Space Needle, is set to undergo a $100 million renovation project focused on the structure’s preservation and the enhancement of the visitor experience by opening up spaces to dramatically improved views.

 Designed by Olson Kundig with interiors by Tihany Design, the scheme will intensify the Observation Deck experience through the addition of floor-to-ceiling glass on both the interior and exterior spaces, creating unobstructed 360 degree views of the Puget Sound and Seattle skyline . The renovation will also reimagine the Needle’s restaurant level by featuring a “first-of-its-kind” rotating glass floor to offer never-before-seen downward views of the structure.

Cross-Section of the Tophouse to show Observation Deck Renovations. Image © Olson Kundig View from the Interior Observation Deck (after). Image © Olson Kundig Interior Observation Deck (after). Image © Olson Kundig Tophouse of the Space Needle (after). Image © Olson Kundig +16

The Architectural Lab: A History Of World Expos

10:30 - 30 April, 2015
The Universal Exposition of 1889. Image © Wikimedia Commons
The Universal Exposition of 1889. Image © Wikimedia Commons

World Expos have long been important in advancing architectural innovation and discourse. Many of our most beloved monuments were designed and constructed specifically for world’s fairs, only to remain as iconic fixtures in the cities that host them. But what is it about Expos that seem to create such lasting architectural landmarks, and is this still the case today? Throughout history, each new Expo offered architects an opportunity to present radical ideas and use these events as a creative laboratory for testing bold innovations in design and building technology. World’s fairs inevitably encourage competition, with every country striving to put their best foot forward at almost any cost. This carte blanche of sorts allows architects to eschew many of the programmatic constraints of everyday commissions and concentrate on expressing ideas in their purest form. Many masterworks such as Mies van der Rohe’s German Pavilion (better known as the Barcelona Pavilion) for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition are so wholeheartedly devoted to their conceptual approach that they could only be possible in the context of an Exposition pavilion.

To celebrate the opening of Expo Milano 2015 tomorrow, we’ve rounded up a few of history’s most noteworthy World Expositions to take a closer look at their impact on architectural development.

1964 New York World’s Fair . Image via People for the Pavillion website Buckminster Fuller's Dome. Image © Flickr user abdallahh Barcelona Pavilion. Image © Gili Merin Kiyonari Kikutake's Landmark Tower +19