‘Visually reminiscent of a greenhouse’ – Amazon unveils latest plans for ‘whimsical’ Seattle campus

amazon seattle design planIt’s a design that looks more botanical-garden than space-for-office-workers, but according to plans [pdf] released by Amazon for a new Seattle-based campus, there will be desks, meeting rooms and water coolers among all the foliage.

Designed by architecture firm NBBJ, the biosphere-like campus, located in the downtown area of the city, will comprise more than three million square feet of office space spread throughout three 37-story office towers and three enormous glass-and-steel spheres. That’s right, three enormous spheres. Up to 95 feet high, the spheres will incorporate work, dining, meeting and lounge spaces, and be home to “ecologies found around the globe”, NBBJ said in its plans.

The architecture firm added: “While the form of the building will be visually reminiscent of a greenhouse or conservatory, plant material will be selected for its ability to co-exist in a microclimate that also suits people,” a feature sure to delight any green-fingered employees among the Amazon workforce. And it’s not just plants that’ll be sprouting up around the office: “To encourage growth and maintain the health of the plants, the building’s interior will include high bay spaces….capable of accommodating mature trees.”

NBBJ said that ultimately the intent behind its design is “to create an alternative environment….where employees can work and socialize in a more natural, park-like setting.”

amazon spheres

The green areas between the spheres would be open to the public, as would several retail spaces on the site.

Discussing Amazon’s plans at a Design Review Board meeting at Seattle’s City Hall on Tuesday evening, board member Gabe Grant described the design as “optimistic, forward-looking, experimental, exciting [and] whimsical.”

Summing up his firm’s plans, NBBJ’s John Savo told the board, “We’re striving to create an environment in which to work and think a little differently.”

Amazon’s “whimsical” design follows in the footsteps of other big players in the tech world. Apple is set to build its ‘spaceship’ campus in Cupertino, Facebook has plans for a striking new campus designed by internationally acclaimed architect Frank Gehry, and Google is set to build something out of the ordinary in London in the next couple of years.

[via Cnet, Seattle Times]

amazon seattle office plan
Emerging Tech

This exotic new material somehow gets thicker when stretched

Scientists at the U.K.’s University of Leeds have discovered a synthetic material which actually gets thicker the more it’s stretched. Here are some of the things it could be used for.
Emerging Tech

Early-detection system for wildfires could save many states from big burns

When it comes to dealing with the growing problem of raging wildfires, a new wireless smart sensor system could help spot burgeoning blazes before they rage out of control. Here's how it works.

Light up the night! Here are the five best headlamps money can buy

Headlamps make all the difference when camping or walking the dog at night, especially when you're in need of both hands. From Black Diamond and Petzl to Coast here are some of the best headlamps on the market.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk to unveil tunnel elevators and autonomous pods on December 18

We'll soon learn if Elon Musk's high-speed tunnel plan is a serious effort at ending traffic jams or little more than a fancy theme park ride. A big unveiling event is coming on December 18, a week later than originally planned.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.

Has Columbus, Ohio raised its IQ yet? A progress report from the mayor

Two years ago, the city of Columbus in Ohio received $40 million to pursue smart city initiatives. So, what’s happened since then? We spoke with its mayor, Andrew Ginther, to discuss progress and what’s ahead.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Emerging Tech

Scoot your commute! Here are the 9 best electric scooters on the market

Electric scooters are an affordable, convenient way to minimize your carbon footprint and zip around town. Check out 8 of our current favorites, whether you're working with a budget or have some cash to spare.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Hear the sounds of wind on Mars from InSight’s latest audio recording

NASA's InSight craft has captured the sound of the wind blowing on the surface of Mars. The audio file was picked up by the air pressure sensor and the seismometer which detected vibrations from the 10 to 15 mph winds in the area.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

A South Korean experiment called COSINE-100 has attempted to replicate the claims of dark matter observed by the Italian DAMA/LIBRA experiment, but has failed to replicate the observations.
Emerging Tech

White dwarf star unexpectedly emitting bright ‘supersoft’ X-rays

NASA's Chandra Observatory has discovered a white dwarf star which is emitting supersoft X-rays, calling into question the conventional wisdom about how X-rays are produced by dying stars.