Out of the Box

Current Biosphere Construction. Photo by Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times

The three, new glass biospheres, which are part of Amazon’s new campus covering three blocks in the South Lake Union area, continue taking shape. Their 36-story adjoining square tower opened for business on November 7th, 2016, with the announcement “Hello World” in the window. This is the 2nd new building site move-in for Amazon in recent months.

Biospheres under construction, April 2016. Photo by Kevin Lisota/GeekWire.

The round, 5-story spheres are located at Lenora Street and 6th Avenue on the north end of downtown Seattle, and are designed to promote out-of-the-box thinking for 800 employees while serving as a nature conservatory. The idea is to promote creative thought in a relaxed, inviting work environment and provide a memorable iconic structure for the downtown core. They will include waterfalls, extension bridges, a river, and thousands of plants (U.S. and international), so employees and guests can connect with nature while at work. Retail spaces will also be opened within the spheres as well. Employees will have a cafeteria available on-site or always have the option of eating their lunch amid the climate-controlled gardens (set at a pleasant, not humid, temperature for humans during the day).

Photo by Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times

According to The Seattle Times, the Amazon company has hired a seasoned, full-time horticulturist, Ron Gagliardo, formerly of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, to manage these spaces. Principal architect at NBBJ, Dale Alberda, initially proposed a round, rather than square structure, which the committee responded well to. So now this out-of-the box structure is becoming a reality, and will fully open in late 2017 or early 2018.