Knoxville/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on May 29, 2024
Knoxville's Sunsphere to Temporarily Close for Facelift and New Welcome Center ConstructionSource: Google Street View

Knoxville's Sunsphere, a vestige of the 1982 World's Fair and one of the city's most recognizable landmarks, is getting a facelift that will temporarily shutter its doors to the public. Beginning May 28 through June 9, 2024, visitors will have to hold off on their panoramic vistas as the iconic tower undergoes steelwork essential for the opening of a new welcome center. Visit Knoxville has indicated that eager eyes should mark June 10 on their calendars for the observation deck's anticipated reopening.

The renovation is more than just structural; it represents the physical unfurling of the Sunsphere Welcome Center project's construction phase. In details obtained by WVLT, the new facility will nestle by the Clinch Avenue entrance and will boast an enclosed space with staffed ticketing, expanded retail options, and a trove of brochures and information, all overlooking the World's Fair Park. Currently, visitors secure their ascent to the observation deck through a digital ticketing system, often via scanning a QR code at the entrance.

Not content to stop at mere functionality, the renovations are also embedding a sartorial nod to history and playfulness. According to WATE, the updated design on the third-level exterior will shimmer in multiple hues - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and white - reminiscent of the Rubik's cube. This fanciful design pays homage to the 1982 World’s Fair, when Hungary graced Knoxville with the world’s largest Rubik’s Cube, a kernel of nostalgia that remains at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Enhancements to the Sunsphere are not merely chromatic; functional upgrades are in full swing. Among the latest announcements featured in the WBIR’s report are a new entrance canopy crowned with a solar array facing the Knoxville Convention Center and a series of significant improvements that commenced last November with the Sunsphere’s iconic globular portion being repainted in its original majestic PANTONE® Classic Blue. For locals and tourists alike, this brief period of inaccessibility appears to be the promise of a brighter, more welcoming return.