Created for the 1962 World's Fair, Prince Charles famously called the orange-gold color garish, saying it was like the protective paint used on bridges.
Despite its lackluster reception 50 years ago, The Space Needle enthusiastically announced on Monday that it was going retro in preparation for the 50th anniversary on Saturday, April 21.
Gold is, after all, the traditional gift for 50-year-anniversary celebrations.
Construction of the 605-foot Seattle icon was remarkably fast, earning it the nickname the 400-day wonder. Upon completion, it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River.
With its hourglass form and flying saucer top, the building embodied the era, symbolizing the optimism of the United States in the throes of the space race.
Knute Berger, writer in residence at The Space Needle, said 50 years later, the needle feels much the same.
If you come on a busy day to the observation deck or the restaurant it's just like 1962, Berger told local station KING-TV, Seattle. The elevator ride up, the food, the crowds of people speaking different languages -- it's a real World's Fair experience.
At the top is the rotating SkyCity restaurant, which offers views not only of Downtown Seattle, but also the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and surrounding islands.
Berger is in the process of interviewing people for a book he's writing to commemorate the Needle's 50th Anniversary.
Two generations of 1962 World's Fair families applied the first strokes of paint on Tuesday. The Space Needle's makeover is scheduled to be completed by Saturday and remain on the roof through the summer. The symbolic gesture kicks off a week of celebrations.
This is not the first time the space needle has received a temporary makeover. Aside from the numerous flags and icons that have graced the top, it donned the UW Huskies logo in 1992 after they won the Rose Bowl and turned into a giant Wheel of Fortune in the late 90's.