The preservation and renovation of a 57-year old icon.
In June 2017, the Space Needle announced its intent to undergo a multi-year renovation venture. As one of the most recognized landmarks in the world, the Space Needle’s remodel focused on updating the structure’s physical systems and elevating the visitor experience. Included in the renovation was an expansion and resurfacing of the observation deck, with the most important requirement being that the deck had to remain open to the public during operating hours.
An additional challenge during the project was the building itself. The Space Needle is an active building—contracting, twisting, and expanding depending on wind and temperature—that would make any construction project and choice of materials a difficult one.
The observation deck is an exposed walkway located directly over the newly renovated and occupied space known as The Loupe. The renovation of the observation deck required a reinforced solution that would provide protection from weathering, water ingress, and environmental damage to ensure long-term durability. Since the area is highly visible, aesthetic requirements were an important consideration in addition to performance requirements.
The Terapro Waterproofing and Surfacing System by Siplast, a PMMA liquid-applied system developed for this type of application, was ultimately selected. The fast-curing properties of PMMA aligned perfectly with the need for a fast return to service. Each coat is rain-proof in twenty-five minutes and ready for the next coat in forty-five minutes, which proved to be an important benefit in Seattle’s rain-prone climate. Terapro’s layered application consists of one coat of primer, one or more waterproofing/wearing layers, and a hard-wearing surfacing. For the observation deck, the system’s Pro Natural Quartz option was chosen for the surfacing layer. The reinforcement layer consists of a polyester fleece fabric. Each of the liquid-applied layers is comprised of a specially formulated, solvent and VOC-compliant, catalyzed polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) resin. The completed high mil thickness of Terapro on the Space Needle’s observation deck is monolithic, seamless, durable, resistant to UV, foot traffic, and numerous environmental contaminants. The use of Terapro allowed for a successfully phased application without posing a hazard to visitors, who continued to visit daily without interruption.