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Copyright: National Geographic. September 1962

The Space Needle by John Graham advanced to the landmark of the exposition – a 185 metres high spire with a glazed revolving restaurant at the top that could be reached with external lifts looking like space capsules. To stabilize the then highest building east of the Mississippi, three twin steel legs, assembled from 30 metres long parts, were anchored 10 metres deep with 6000 tons heavy reinforced concrete foundations. Because of this deep anchor the centre of gravity of the tower was just above the ground. To ensure the safety of the construction experts from the California Institute of Technology, University of Washington, were consulted. They tested the wind tolerance and earth quake resistance of the spire in extensive experiments. Architect John Graham summarised proudly: “While constructing the Space Needle, we went beyond all maximum security regulations. Moreover, it was our intention to utilise the best architectural thinking of the nation, as a building like this has never been built before.”

The restaurant, intended for 300 guests that would be served by waitresses in golden skin-tight overalls, was lying like a flying saucer on the steel supports. The outer ring took one hour to revolve 360 degrees. Above the restaurant was a viewing platform with a souvenir shop and snack machines. This avant-garde symbol of space exploration was crowned with a 15 metres stainless steel spire illuminated in turns in green, blue, red and yellow.

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The Seattle World Exposition 1962 and the New York World Exposition 1964
A Symbol for Space Travel: The Space Needle
Year: 1962City: SeattleCountry: USA
Duration: 21th April - 21th October 1962



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