Balloon + Saucer = Needle

July 22nd, 2008 @ 1:16 am by Cliffe | Sorted Historic Buildings |
During my “day job” as a game designer, one of the first steps we take in creating spaces is to whip up a few rough concept sketche
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Architects use the practice as well, as these early Space Needle design sketches illustrate. I found these in an old ’62 World’s Fair book I was flipping through last night.
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While definitely not as stunning as the set over at the Architecture of the Pacific Northwest Database, they do show a nice progression of ideas. The final design is said to be a compromise of Edward Carlson’s cabled balloon idea and architect John Graham’s flying saucer. Click on the thumbnails for a higher-res look. [see also: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 of "Erecting The Needle" photo feature]
Early cabled balloon design; flying saucer on a spire. Copyright 1962, The Craftsman Press, Inc.
Revolving restaurant with planetarium dome; cruciform shaft and disk first called the “space needle” from Art Edwards. Copyright 1962, The Craftsman Press, Inc.
Bennett’s crossed cables sketch; Ridley’s tripod in plastic form. Copyright 1962, The Craftsman Press, Inc.
Steinbrueck’s later sketch; Ridley’s new tophouse detail sketch. Copyright 1962, The Craftsman Press, Inc.

13 Responses to “Balloon + Saucer = Needle”

  1. Derek L. says:

    I can’t quite put my finger on it – but many of those designs have an oddly 30′s vibe, especially the first (cabled balloon) sketch. Maybe it’s the art style of the first four, which I always thought was archaic by the 60′s.

  2. Scott says:

    Hi Cliffe,
    What game company do you work for?

  3. it’s nice to see these Cliffe, great post!

  4. bobcat says:

    love the first sketch, and especially love Left 4 Dead – go Valve!

  5. Jason Carpp says:

    Awesome website. As a native of Seattle, Washington, I’ve always been interested in historic parts of Seattle. While I’ve never lived IN the city of Seattle, I’ve visited more times than I can count. My favourite parts of Seattle are Capital Hill, Queen Anne Hill and Downtown Seattle. I love looking at pictures of Seattle that go back 50+ years

  6. Neath says:

    Very nice drawings in any case.

  7. Jason Carpp says:

    I only hope none of the historic buildings get demolished. It seems to be happening way too often these days in favour of more modern, but less interesting buildings. Unless it’s been damaged in a fire or earthquake, and cannot be saved, I’d say fix up the buildings (homes, businesses, etc.) and sell them at a reasonable price.

  8. Mike Meier says:

    I grew up in Seattle and have been to th3 Space Needle many times (the first at the World’s Fair as a two-year-old. I have long admired its architecture. In all that time I never once thought about the fact that there had to have been several conceptual designs. I first saw these concept drawings in late October when the wife and I stayed at the Camlin. I was blown away! As futuristic as the final design was, I was struck by how retro the other designs were. Thanks for the site.

  9. Spiele says:

    I too think thus, perfectly pent post! .

  10. stivali ugg says:

    I’m amazed, I have to say. Really not usually do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Your current concept is actually excellent; the issue is something that not enough people are discussing intelligently about. Now i’m happy which I stumbled across it within my try to find something relating to this.

  11. Tom says:

    I am interested in the 1962 Space Needle book you referred to. My dad was the structural engineer for the Space Needle. He worked for John Graham. I have a copy of the blue prints with his name on it. He was mentioned in the Space Needle book. I have been trying to get a copy of it for years. Do you happen to know where I might find a copy?

  12. Great site. A lot of helpful info here. I’m sending it to several pals ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you on your sweat!

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