Giant biodomes approved for Amazon’s mega headquarters

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Amazon's biodomes
Here’s an inside look at the greenhouse spheres, which aren’t just big glass cages for leafy greenery. In fact, they’ll include dining, meeting, and relaxation areas! Plant zones will also be modeled after a variety of natural environments, and the five floors will each be tall enough to grow a mature tree!

Amazon.com, the largest online store in the world, was in the market for a major headquarters expansion in Seattle. Once they signed up global architecture firm NBBJ to handle the job, things got really interesting.

See, these design-a-building creative wizards dreamed up a unique idea that Amazon totally loved. Rather than just constructing some dusty old skyscraper, Amazon’s going the ultra-imaginative route… just like Apple, Google, and Facebook.

You know, putting together one-of-a-kind office structures that are as environmentally-friendly as they are beautiful. Yes, that means attractive to Mother Nature and the flashing cameras of tourists. Now, NBBJ’s  five-story biodomes design has not only been approved by Amazon, but by the city as well. Construction is a go! And yes, those biodomes are exactly what they sound like. Big glass spheres that drink the sunlight and sprout gorgeous plants inside, just like a greenhouse.

Amazon expansion
The mega 38-story mirrored towers will make up most of the 3.3 million square feet of office space, since the biodomes are “only” going to be 65,000 square feet.

That’s not all that’s in the works, though, because Amazon’s going big with their expansion. We’re not just talking a few extra rooms, either. It’s more like… 3.3 million square feet of office space! Just to put that in perspective, a football field has 57,600 square feet (it’s 360 feet long and 160 feet wide, so 360 x 160 = 57,600 feet). That means… let me get my calculator here, one moment… that means that this massive Amazon build-a-thon is going to equal 57 football fields of extra room. In addition to the glass-coated domes, Amazon’s planning three mirrored towers that will rise majestically beyond the beautiful Earth-like spheres.

The public is super excited by the project, and they wrote several praise-filled letters encouraging the city’s design-review board to let the plans go through. See, the government had to give permission before Amazon filled up Seattle with its mega structure. It wasn’t until Tuesday that the design-review board voted 100% for the headquarters expansion.

If you’re wondering what kind of letters people wrote to the board, one of them said, “Amidst the current building boom of glass boxes and low-rise metal-clad apartments, it is so refreshing to see a design that reaches outside of Seattle for some ‘global’ architectural inspiration, and yet it is well designed and tailored to our own urban environment.” In other words, they’ve had enough of other ugly buildings getting built, and want some fine-looking NBBJ-inspired goodness.

Construction on the first phase has already begun, and you can be sure that the eyes of the design world will be watching with great interest!

Images courtesy of NBBJ.