If Apple can have a "spaceship," then Amazon can have a biodome. Although the company isn't creating a totally self-contained ecosystem so its employees never have to leave work, documents filed with the Seattle Department of Planning and Development indicate it is planning to build something not too far removed from that at its new campus headquarters in Seattle.
Usually, corporations based in Washington State tend to build their campuses in the exurbs, but Amazon is bucking the trend by building its 3.3 million square foot (30.65 ha) headquarters campus in the Seattle city center. It’s the largest development in the city's history and the domes are part of a revision proposal being made to the Seattle city government on Tuesday for future approval.
The domes are one small part of the campus to be located at the corner of 7th Avenue and Lenora Street that will cover three square blocks and include three towers. The site of the domes was originally intended for a more conventional six-story rectangular building, but that’s been abandoned in favor of three intersecting spheres of varying size with high bay spaces over five floors to form 65,000 square feet (6,038 sq. m) of interior floor space.
The domes themselves are highly transparent and made of multiple layers of glass supported by a metal framework and, though they look like a greenhouse, it won’t be like setting up office in the Palm House at Kew Gardens. The plants chosen will be from mountain environments, so they can survive in temperatures and humidities comfortable for people. Also, the wide open format encourages plant growth and can even accommodate mature (smallish) trees.
The hope is that employees will find the park-like setting more natural and relaxing, allowing them to better work and socialize. There are places for working alone or in groups, as well as dining areas. Amazon also said that the new design will enhance public interaction in the outside areas, with the incorporation of a play field and a dog park, will improve the area next to the skyscraper by avoiding dead, blank facades, and help to better define the public spaces.
If given the go ahead, the entire project is expected to take six years to complete.