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02/03/2021

Amazon Releases New HQ Designs

Amazon has submitted its proposed development plans for the second phase of new construction for its Arlington headquarters.

You’ve probably heard of the Spheres — part of the Amazon headquarters complex in Seattle.

Now get ready for the Helix, a stunning new structure that leaves a dramatic effect on the skyline of Arlington, Virginia.

“If you’ve visited Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, you may already be acquainted with The Spheres, a special place where employees can work or unwind while immersed in nature,” the company said in a blog post. “The Spheres were inspired by a concept called biophilia — the innate human desire to connect with nature — and a similarly engaging and rejuvenating concept is the basis for our Arlington headquarters: a double helix.”

Last January, Amazon began construction at its second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, — with the e-commerce operator committed to creating 25,000 jobs and investing $2.5 billion in Arlington over the next decade.

Now Amazon has submitted its proposed development plans for the second phase of new construction for its Arlington headquarters.

“For this project, we’re doubling down on the importance of fostering an open and inviting community by creating a new destination for local residents,” Amazon said in a blog post. “We hope that the blend of architectural and ecological elements at PenPlace — the name of the site — will inspire those who work here and serve as an inviting place for neighbors to gather, relax, dine and shop.”

The helix design is vital to the concept, Amazon said.

“The natural beauty of a double helix can be seen throughout our world, from the geometry of our own DNA to the elemental form of galaxies, weather patterns, pinecones and seashells,” reads the blog post. “The Helix at our Arlington headquarters will offer a variety of alternative work environments for Amazon employees amidst lush gardens and flourishing trees native to the region. A true double helix in shape and structure, this unique building will feature two walkable paths of landscaped terrain that will spiral up the outside of the building, featuring plantings you may find on a hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.”

Sustainability is also a big part of this ongoing project.

“We will develop 2.8 million square feet of new office space distributed across three 22-story buildings,” said Amazon. “We’ve designed a workspace for our employees that will prioritize areas for collaboration, natural light and a constant interaction with nature. The design promotes well-being and physical exercise, agency (the ability for employees to choose when, how and where to work), and a strong connection with the local community. We believe that campuses should be neighborhoods that bring people together and not isolated, employee-only spaces that ignore their surroundings.”

The new buildings are designed to be LEED Platinum, the highest certification for a sustainable development issued by the U.S. Green Building Council. The project also includes an all-electric central heating and cooling system that will run on 100% renewable energy from a solar farm located in Pittsylvania County in southern Virginia, procured in collaboration with Arlington County. This will align with Amazon’s Climate Pledge to be net-zero carbon by 2040 and advance Arlington and Amazon’s shared commitment to be leaders in the fight against climate change.

“And because innovative technology often derives from the intersection of art and science, we’ve planned an artist-in-residence program to be hosted within The Helix,” Amazon said. “Local artists, in collaboration with our employees, will be inspired by the nature within the building as they create their pieces.”

In Seattle, Amazon has opened The Spheres to tens of thousands of members of the community. Similarly, the company plans to offer public tours of The Helix several weekends a month so everyone has the opportunity to enjoy this unique environment.

Retail pavilions and restaurants will be also located throughout the site.

“Our plans also include room for a childcare center, a dog run and a food truck area with plentiful outdoor seating,” Amazon said. “And we will create a dedicated 20,000-square-foot community space that can support educational initiatives and be flexible enough to accommodate everything from large community meetings to small classes and individual use.”

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