When NBBJ unveiled plans to build three dazzling biosphere greenhouses at Amazon's new Seattle headquarters, we were pretty excited. All plans can be improved though - and after the City of Seattle raised concerns about the design NBBJ went back to the drawing board. Their revamped plan gives the spheres an exciting other-worldly skin, more retail space, more landscaping and more access for the public.
Amazon’s new Seattle headquarters will take over 3 blocks in downtown in the Denny Triangle area. The project will comprise 3.3 million square feet spread over three city blocks – including three 38-story high-rise office towers, two mid-rise office buildings and a multi-purpose meeting center seating 1,800 people. NBBJ is designing the complex to meet LEED Gold standards and to invigorate the downtown area. Increased density, more efficient infrastructure and the increased use of public transportation by employees will also help to reduce the project’s overall impact. The biosphere buildings at the heart of the project are intended to provide a unique office setting filled with daylight and plants.
When NBBJ presented the project to the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (SDPD), it was met with mixed reviews, but they encouraged the idea and asked for some changes. The city wanted to see more public space and more landscaping. To appease the board, NBBJ presented a revamped plan that updates the biospheres with a ‘Catalan Skin’ made of irregular pentagons. Prefabricated from steel, aluminum and glass, the spheres are modeled to maximize lighting and minimize heat gain. NBBJ also increased landscaping in the public square, added more seating, built in a covered walkway from the spheres to the main tower, and increased retail space. The spheres were shortened slightly to lessen their impact on the public square, and more access was provided for the public within the building and the park.
Amazon and NBBJ hope to complete the project by 2016. Read more about the plan here.