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Refined for Hire: A Day in the Life of a Space Needle Glass Cleaner

You might have heard the Space Needle recently got a “space-lift,” with all new interior surfaces, most of them see-through!

Alan Maskin from Olson Kundig Architects headed up the renovation.

“The Space Needle asked us to rethink the visitor experience for the next 50 years," said Maskin. "So [we] started to take away walls and we replaced everything with glass. It widens the lens of your eye, and suddenly you have a view of Seattle no one has never seen before!"

But keeping floor-to-ceiling windows and a glass floor clean is no easy task. In fact, there’s an entire team of glass specialists dedicated to keeping the Needle’s iconic view streak and smudge-free.

And guess what? They’re hiring! I love my job at Refined, but how often do you get the chance to be a glass cleaner at the Space Needle?! This was my shot.

Unfortunately, my squeegee skills leave a lot to be desired...according to Paul Best, the Space Needle’s Chief Glass Cleaner. He says his team cleans about 20,000 square feet of glass every day.

“At about five in the morning we start, grab our coffee, turn on some tunes… watch the sunrise,” said Best.

They scrub off fingerprints, footprints, popcorn grease smears and lipstick.

Yes, people apparently kiss the windows.

Best says keeping the glass floor clean is a special challenge.

“We have a small machine that kinda looks like a Zamboni," he said. "It's kinda like a giant wet vacuum."

The floor-cleaning machine runs all day, in a continuous loop making sure visitors have an unobstructed view of the ground about 500 feet below their shoelaces.

But while Best and his team can see everything while they're cleaning - the same can't be said for the general public below.

“If you look [from] below, you’re gonna see a screen with tiny black dots," he said. "That’s a sunscreen - it's like the big murals on buses, [people] can’t see through it but you can look out.”

If you’d like to become a Space Needle Glass cleaner Best says you can apply online. And, if you get hired, he guarantees an office with a view.

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