In the fall of 2017, work began on the Century Project in Seattle, Washington. This project revolved around the renovation of the iconic Space Needle. The 56-year-old structure was in need of a long list of improvements, with the most evident being the observation deck.
Space Needle Century Project
A big part of the Century Project was the renewal of the observation deck on the Space Needle that sits 520 feet in the air. The goal was to provide new and improved views for the visitors by increasing comparable visibility by over 35%. In order to do this, the new design called for the glass panels to make up the barrier of the deck replacing the old metal wire and rod barrier.
Herzog Glass out of Seattle was tasked with the installation of all of the glass throughout the project, including the observation deck. They are known as the go-to glazing company in the Seattle area for complex projects so it was a seamless fit. The specific design of the new observation deck called for 48 glass panels using 2 inch thick glass and measuring 7 feet wide and 11 feet high with each panel weighing over 1 ton. Given the size of the panels and the thickness of the glass, Herzog needed to find the most suitable product made from the best material to use as the fitted shoe of the glass to help keep the panels in place.
Laser Fused Profiles for the Fitted Shoe
There were a number of factors to consider when picking out materials for such an iconic structure as the Space Needle. With the large design of the glass panels and the observation deck being exposed to the elements, Herzog required a custom solution. With the help of Front, Inc., they chose to use atypical profiles made from 316/L stainless steel. This alloy provides excellent corrosion resistance combined with the mechanical properties required for the application.
With the initial design complete, Herzog and Front reached out to Stainless Structurals about the ability to produce these custom profiles congruent to the application. It was determined that the best production method for these shapes was our flagship technique. Laser fusion allows for sharp corners, clean lines and full customization of shapes, sizes, alloys and more. For this project, we produced three different non-standard shapes. The first two were unequal leg channels and the last was a custom h-type profile. In total, we supplied 10,000 pounds of material for the job and delivered to a fabricator in Seattle. After fabrication, these shapes were used as fitted shoes on the bottom of the glass panels and fitted brackets on the top of the glass to help hold them in a fixed position. The unique feature of using the shoes on the bottom is that there is no mullion or frame between the panels, which allows for an unobstructed view all the way around the observation deck.
Stainless Structurals for Many Designs
It was truly an exceptional experience to be able to manufacture product for such a historic landmark and high profile project as the Space Needle renovation. To say we were proud to partner with Herzog and Front, Inc. on this venture would be a vast understatement. This is just one example of how our custom profiles can be used in almost any project. Our goal is to help people think outside the box on their designs and our team is ready to help. Please contact us today for your next project’s needs.