Columbia Center is the tallest building in the state of Washington, and is a respected landmark that is a magnificent part of the Seattle skyline. The building was designed by Chester L. Lindsey Architects, the same company that designed the Fourth and Blanchard Building.
The Columbia Center stands at 932 feet, and is the second tallest structure on the western seaboard. This building is second only to the U.S. Bank Tower in L.A.
Sky View Observatory
The observation deck of the Columbia Center is located on the 73rd floor of the building, and offers a full 360 degree panoramic view. From the Sky View Observatory you can see Mount Rainier and Mount Baker, Elliott Bay, and of course the Space Needle. There are displays at each viewing point that will give you a short story of the amazing city of Seattle. The observation deck is open to the public, between 10am and 8pm, every day of the week, and for a small admission fee, you can see a view that is beyond what words can explain.
Above the sky view observatory there are the top two floors, which are known as the Club floors. Here you will find a library (reading room), several meeting rooms, as well as a restaurant and bar.
Two years prior to construction of this magnificent building, Martin Selig (a prominent real estate developer in Seattle) borrowed more than 200 million dollars in 1981, to begin to develop the property that the Columbia Center now sits. Howard S. Wright was the contractor, and in 1982 began to “break ground”, which involved a 120 foot deep hole in the ground. The building was completed on January 12, 1985, and the doors were opened to the public about six weeks later, on March 2nd.
The Columbia Tower takes over most of 4th and 5th Avenues, as well as Columbia and Cherry Streets. Seven of the 76 floors of this building are under ground.
Originally, the Columbia Center was designed to be over 1,000 feet tall, but to keep current airplane flight paths, the Federal Aviation Administration suggested that the building be shortened. By accommodating these new regulations, six inches from each floor were removed from the design.
The buildings base is Rosa Purino Carnelian granite. There are 8,800 smoke-tempered glass windows, as well as 48 elevators, 6 escalators and more than 2,000 hydronic- heat pumps.
The innovative concave structure makes the building look like three different towers standing next to each other. There was a method to this unique design, as it is considered to be the safest and strongest building on the West Coast of the United States. It was designed to withstand hurricane winds and earthquakes.
For a good cause
Columbia Center hosts the “Scott Firefighter Stair climb”, which is the biggest competition among firefighters in the world. Close to 2,000 firefighters from around the world arrive at the Columbia Center, to participate in this benefit that supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Associations. The competition involves firefighters trekking up 69 floors (which equates to more than 1,310 step) wearing full firefighting gear.