Amazon updates Seattle headquarters design
By David Szondy
August 20, 2013
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.
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