Amazon has reportedly submitted plans for a new futuristic headquarters in Seattle that combines a skyscraper and a tri-sphere, bio-dome-like structure. According to the plans, the structure will be able to hold various forms of plant life and become a place where employees can “work and socialize in a more natural, park-like setting.”
Because, God forbid, employees walk to the park that’s three blocks away.
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. To encourage growth and maintain the health of the plants, the building’s interior will include high bay spaces on five floors totaling approximately 65,000 SF and capable of accommodating mature trees. The exterior enclosure will be highly transparent and be composed primarily of multiple layers of glass supported by a metal framework. In addition to a variety of workplace environments, the facility will incorporate dining, meeting and lounge spaces, as well as a variety of botanical zonesmodeled on montane ecologies found around the globe. The building will be anchored at either end by publically accessible retail spaces entered from 6th and 7th Avenues.
Generally, it all sounds very cool and very futuristic and very trendy (read: Apple did the whole “plans for a spaceship” thing ages ago). However, it’s interesting to see how the biggest companies in tech are tackling the issue of working in an office or with a more loose structure.
Remember, everyone made a pretty big deal out of Marissa Mayer’s recent policy change that requires all Yahoo employees to work in an office. And just recently she announced that Yahoo would be taking up space in the Times building in New York’s Times Square, which is capable of housing up to 700 employees.
As it stands now, all of the big four tech companies — Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon — favor keeping employees in the office.
Google has one of the best campuses you could dream of, both in Mountain View and in New York, feeding employees free lunch from world-renowned chefs. Apple is working to build out one of Steve Jobs’ final projects, a new spaceship office. Facebook has the same diversions: chess boards, and video games, and basketball courts, and free lunch.
So of course, the fourth horseman in the race, Amazon is devising its own tricks to keep employees at the office as long as possible. It’s a win-win: Employees do more and better work due to a pleasing and comfortable work environment, and employers get more, and better work, out of their employees.
Also, there’s a perfectly good park just three blocks from the new campus.
Here’s the full set of plans:
[Biodome rendering via NBBJ]