Apple announces iPhone 6, Apple Watch

Amazon updates Seattle headquarters design

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August 20, 2013

The updated Amazon HQ design (Image: NBBJ)

The updated Amazon HQ design (Image: NBBJ)

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Not content with plunking its headquarters campus in the middle of downtown Seattle, Amazon decided to throw in a couple biodomes for good measure. But the company didn't think its steel and glass domes were eye-catching enough, and the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (SDPD) had a few issues of its own, so the plans went back to the architects for bit of tweaking. The result is something that looks less futuristic and more like a mating of a football and a robot plankton from outer space.

The domes are intended to give Amazon employees a space for work and relaxing that has lots of room, and is a bit like being in a mountain forest. Originally, the domes were made of great spiraling girders that coiled around the huge spheres. The problem was that the city planners thought the domes were too high, cut off light from the park next to them, and didn't have enough retail space. Also, Amazon wanted a more “active” facade with a higher degree of transparency and more visual interest.

The plans were returned to the architects, who came back with a new design (revealed in planning permission documents) that replaces the curves with irregular pentagons to form a “Catalan skin” and they tweaked the lower levels for better retail accommodation. They also decreased the height to let in more light to public spaces, and increased landscaping and wider pavements in the park to promote pedestrian traffic, while redesigning the park fixtures for greater visibility.

The plans will be formally presented to the SDPD this week.

Source: Seattle Department of Planning and Development (PDF) via MyNorthwest

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
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6 Comments

Less futuristic? That must be a typo. The earlier design with its simple diamond cross-hatch design looked less futuristic than the dome at EPCOT. This new design looks far, far MORE futuristic. Very organic and other-worldly.

I've love to see it in person some day.

dandrews1138
20th August, 2013 @ 09:28 am PDT

Looks very expensive for what it is suppose to do.

Slowburn
20th August, 2013 @ 11:23 am PDT

I suppose it's a matter of taste, but I think the new design is much more striking and futuristic. I like it!

kalqlate
20th August, 2013 @ 12:34 pm PDT

Actually, I think that is fantastic. If it plays out anything like the artist rendition it will be an asset to the Seattle skyline.

fidalgoman
20th August, 2013 @ 06:59 pm PDT

I like the concept but think that the original design is far better, less cluttered and would seen to fit in better with the surrounding buildings. Also I think that there is too many structured within the domes and it would be more dramatic and relaxing if it only contained planting.

JSSFB
20th August, 2013 @ 11:12 pm PDT

Good Plan,,,,,Good design,

Youngman Kim
22nd August, 2013 @ 10:06 pm PDT
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