The plans, made public and submitted to authorities for approval on Tuesday, will form the second phase of the tech giant’s $2.5 billion HQ2 project in Arlington County, Virginia.
The double helix-inspired building will be opened to the public at least two weekends every month, according to Amazon. Credit: Courtesy NBBJ/Amazon
The site’s focal point will be The Helix, a tree-covered glass structure where a series of “alternative work environments” will be set amid indoor gardens and greenery from the nearby area, tended to by a team of horticulturalists. According to the architecture firm behind the project, NBBJ, a spiral “hill climb” will meanwhile allow employees and visitors to ascend the outside of the structure.
“We’re doing a lot on the site to connect people to nature, said lead architect and NBBJ principal, Dale Alberda, adding that the design aims to symbolize both nature and science. “But with the Helix we really take that to the extreme,” he said in a video interview. “We’re building a series of indoor atriums and gardens that are not a conservatory or a place you just visit, but a place you can actually go and work.”
While the Helix itself will only open to the public occasionally (“at least two weekends” per month, Amazon confirmed to CNN), other parts of the site are intended for use by the community.
The new proposal includes 2.5 acres of public space, offering art installations, communal grassy areas and a 250-seat amphitheater. Outdoor plazas will host mobile food vendors and farmers’ markets, while retail space will see shops and restaurants move in at ground level.
According to the project’s lead architect, the “vast majority” of ground-level space will be accesible to the public. Credit: Courtesy NBBJ/Amazon
“If we do this right, you won’t necessarily even know that you’re on an Amazon headquarters property,” said Alberda, adding that the “vast majority” of the site will be accessible to the public, including office buildings’ lobbies.
“People talk about (tech) ‘campuses’ all the time, and that comes with (the impression of) a place that is fenced off … but we are moving away from the campus to what we like to refer to as a neighborhood.”
Elsewhere, the proposed design features a network of walkways and pedestrianized spaces, and can accommodate over 950 bicycles. Car parking and docking will be pushed below ground, keeping the immediate area free of service and delivery vehicles.
The proposal features 2.5 acres of public space. Credit: Courtesy NBBJ/Amazon
The entire headquarters is expected to run on renewable energy generated at a solar farm approximately 200 miles away in southern Virigina. Other sustainable design features include a system that recycles rainwater and the use of natural ventilation, while the buildings are designed to maximize the amount of sunlight that can enter, thus reduce the amount artificial lighting needed, Alberda said.
When Amazon first announced plans to build a second headquarters in 2017, it received over 230 proposals from cities and states around the US.
The Helix seen towering above retail facilities. Credit: Courtesy NBBJ/Amazon
If Amazon’s PenPlace proposal is approved, the project’s second phase would break ground in 2022, with construction projected to complete by 2025.