Amazon has unveiled a proposed design for the second phase of its Arlington, Virginia headquarters. Designed by NBBJ – the same studio behind Amazon’s Seattle Spheres – the project’s centerpiece is The Helix, a tower filled with a variety of work environments for Amazon employees. As with ‘The Spheres’, the building allows the Amazon team to be immersed in nature with lush gardens and native trees populating the entirety of the spiraling structure.
“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,” states Amazon. And because innovative technology often derives from the intersection of art and science, they planned an artist-in-residence program to be hosted within The Helix. Local artists, in collaboration with Amazon employees, will be inspired by the nature within the building as they create their pieces.
In total, NBBJ’s design includes 2.8 million square feet of new office space distributed across three 22-story buildings. “We’ve designed a workspace for our employees that will prioritize areas for collaboration, natural light, and a constant interaction with nature,” continues Amazon. “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.”
A variety of inviting open spaces totaling more than 2.5 acres will be accessible for public use. An amphitheater facing a spacious central green will be able to accommodate outdoor concerts, farmers’ markets, and movies in the park. A forest grove will offer more shaded areas for relaxation on a hot day, a quiet place to talk with a friend, or to simply enjoy the natural setting. Meanwhile, a 20,000-square-foot space can support educational initiatives of different sizes as well as community meetings.
The publicly accessible spaces throughout the site will prioritize pedestrians and cyclists. “We plan to make a significant investment to move all vehicle access underground to foster a safe and welcoming pedestrian environment for everyone,” Amazon says. “Visitors and neighbors won’t see service vehicles crossing the new site as all deliveries and docking activity will happen underground, freeing up even more space for the community.”
From an environmental standpoint, 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. 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.