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HomeEventsConversations with... Blair Payson: The Renovation of Seattle's Space Needle (5:30)

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Conversations with... Blair Payson: The Renovation of Seattle's Space Needle (5:30)

Thursday, December 15, 2022, 5:30 PM
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Beacon Hill Village PRESENTS "ConversationS With… BLAIR PAYSON ON the reNOVATION SEATTLE's SPACE NEEDLE" ON THurSDAY, DeCEMBER 15 at 5:30 PM.

The Space Needle is Seattle’s defining icon and was a monument to an era of technological optimism when it was built in 1962.   With the building at roughly 50 years old, the Space Needle owners embarked on a renovation to dramatically improve the visitor experience and building systems to carry the building through for 50 more years – hence the project name, The Century Project.  In presenting the story of the renovation, Blair will share the story behind the creation of the Space Needle in the 1960’s, the era of optimism it reflected and how the renovation celebrated and built on that heritage.  From development of the world’s first revolving glass floor to supporting a construction project 500’ in the air, the Space Needle story from 1962 to today is a remarkably rich creative, historical and technological story that Blair looks forward to sharing.

BLAIR PAYSON, AIA, LEED® AP, Principal/Owner at Olson Kundig

Blair Payson joined Olson Kundig in 2004 and has worked on both architectural and exhibit design projects, including the Century Project for the Space Needle, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center, and [storefront] Olson Kundig, as well as several residential and cultural projects across the United States and Mexico. Blair’s current work includes a new museum in Hawaii for an American sculptor, a historic 1960’s cinema renovation in Los Angeles and a collaboration with Recompose, a Washington state organization advocating for an alternative approach for burying the dead. Blair regularly lectures and organizes conferences across the U.S. – most recently, he presented at the 2021 Advanced Building Skins Conference in Bern, Switzerland, co-chaired the 2020 Architect's Newspaper Conference in Seattle, and delivered the 2019 Association of Licensed Architects keynote address.


A maker at heart, Blair is an architect who revels in the details. From large cultural projects to temporary design interventions, Blair loves the challenge of distilling large, complex projects into distinct culminating moments. Lately, Blair’s research has taken him on site visits to a subterranean cavern deep underground in one week, to hundreds of feet above an urban landscape the next. This demonstrates not only the range of Blair’s interests, but also his proclivity towards risk and experimentation. Blair holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Rice University, and he is the recipient of several design awards for his work on the Gates Foundation Visitor Center and the Century Project for the Space Needle, among other projects.

This virtual program is presented with support from Cambridge Trust as part of Beacon Hill Village’s "Conversations with…" series.

To register please click "Register Now" at top-right (a reminder to log in before registering) or call Beacon Hill Village at 617-723-9713. Meet on Zoom. BHV members, their guests, and prospective members. Free. Registrants will receive the Zoom invitation information in advance of the program.