Space Needle Construction Kicks-off with Hoist of 28,000 Pound Scaffold Platform
Feat took four hours in optimal weather, build out continues to create weather-proof workspace for construction teams
Seattle – On Friday, Sept. 15, while Seattleites slept, a crew of more than 25 worked through the night to raise a 28,000 pound platform 400 feet in the air to rest in place just below the Space Needle’s Tophouse, signaling the official start of the tower’s historic Century Project renovation. Drone footage, ground-shot video and photography captured the groundbreaking hoist, which was managed by 12 independent operators perched atop the donut-shaped platform as it crept its way up the iconic structure.
The platform is an offering from Safway, which provides scaffolding services throughout the U.S. and Canada for the commercial construction of bridges, special events and industrial markets. This project marks a unique application of their Quick Deck product, which can be built off the ground. Hoffman Construction began the scaffold build with the coordinated transport of materials — either through the Space Needle’s elevators or via crane — to the top of the 100-foot level space known as SkyLine. SkyLine, which consists of three rooms jutting out over Seattle Center, served as a base for construction prior to the lift.
Just one week is all it took to get materials in place and build the structure. Now, chained in place at 500 feet, the Century Project marks one of the largest lifts of a Safway scaffold ever completed and it’s one of the company’s biggest scaffolds in circumference. From here the process of building out the structure to create an enclosed, weather-safe space for crew to tackle the Century Project renovation will take at least another 2 weeks.
“This renovation project will be a giant game of three-dimensional chess,” said Karen Olson, CMO, Space Needle LLC. “Getting the elevated platform in place was our first big move. This hasn’t been done before. Our construction partners had to use a great deal of ingenuity and creativity to develop this plan. That plan – and great weather – allowed us to have a successful platform raising, which will allow us to remain open during construction.”
The Century Project is a multi-year venture focused on preservation and renovation of the iconic Space Needle. Privately funded, the ambitious $100 million project will reinvent both the Observation Deck and restaurant level, as well as update the Space Needle’s internal systems. The renovation aims to reveal the historic tower’s internal structure and harken back to the original conceptual sketches, all while expanding and improving its views.