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18 May 2021 Comments (0) Architecture, Environment, Other, Real Estate, Technology

Office space: Amazon unites science and nature in the city centre

The technology giant has just unveiled plans for its future headquarters, which should accommodate 25,000 people in a spectacular and biophilic environment.

Located in Arlington, Virginia, along the Potomac River, the building has an extraordinary double helix shape, the design of which was inspired by the famous Fibonacci sequence. Not only is the double helix design striking, but the simple fact that the company is launching such an architecturally daring, and at this time complicated, office project makes it a remarkable undertaking.

Outside the building, exterior walkways converge to the top of the spire, giving employees and weekend visitors the opportunity to exercise and climb this 22-floor splendour. On the way: maple trees and beeches. The Helix is a glass structure covered with trees where “a series of alternative work environments” will be planted in the middle of interior gardens which will be maintained by gardeners. Amazon called this project PenPlace, expressing their ambition to create a working environment that brings together and unites ideas, projects, and employees but that also allows to evolve in offices strongly connected to nature, promoting innovation and creativity. The PenPlace project is both inspiring for Amazon employees and inviting for the residents, who will enjoy taking a walk, shopping or eating out with the family. 

  • Amazon HQ © NBBJ / Amazon
    Amazon HQ © NBBJ / Amazon
  • Amazon HQ © NBBJ / Amazon
    Amazon HQ © NBBJ / Amazon
  • Amazon HQ © NBBJ / Amazon
    Amazon HQ © NBBJ / Amazon

Full integration into the urban landscape

According to Dale Alberda, the project’s lead architect, “the vast majority of the ground-floor space will be open to the public. If we do this correctly, you won’t even necessarily know that you are on an Amazon property”. The NBBJ firm created this building, in close collaboration with the client.

The future HQ will include 1ha of public green space, a dog area and a 250-seat amphitheatre. The estimated budget is $2.5 billion. 

Instead of the perennial office park in the suburbs or on the outskirts of a city, which was the traditional vision of a company located at a car-friendly distance from the city, Amazon aims to deliver a sublime urban experience, in the very heart of the city. Amazon intends to illustrate its dual belief in the power of cities to change people’s lives and in the power of technology to animate and change cities.

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