Amazon employees are said to work in an architecturally unusual building in Arlington. The focus should be on people.
The focus of the second US headquarters of the online retailer Amazon in Arlington in the US state of Virginia will be a building in the shape of a double helix with two landscaped walkways. Amazon announced on Tuesday. Three 22-story buildings stand alongside the “Helix” office tower on a campus. In ten years, Amazon wants to create around 25,000 jobs in Arlington and invest 2.5 billion US dollars. Amazon is socially responsible and invests in residential construction.
In Arlington one was received “warmly”, says the announcement from Amazon about the “Helix” project . After the decision for the second headquarters in favor of Arlington’s 2018, Amazon immediately started investing and donated 19 million US dollars to non-profit organizations. In addition, Amazon wants to create around 1300 “affordable apartments” in the neighborhood of the headquarters in the “Chrystal City” district. The money for this is to be taken from the $ 2 billion Housing Equity Fund that Amazon announced in January. Further investments are to follow.
Amazon sees itself as a “supportive corporate citizen” who is aware of its responsibility to the community. Apparently, Amazon wants to prevent housing prices from exploding locally due to employees who have moved in, as has happened near other headquarters of tech companies in the USA in the past and thus caused social imbalances in the cities .
Around 1,600 new employees and more will initially be accommodated in the soft-ice-cream building and three other 22-storey buildings on the 260,000 square meter campus, which was designed by the US architecture firm NBBJ. Around 600 positions are still open to be filled in Arlington.
NBBJ, based in Seattle, had already designed Amazon’s Spheres in Seattle and was previously responsible for other major projects, such as the headquarters of Samsung, Alibaba, Boeing and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Double helix in green
The “Helix”, whose facade consists largely of glass surfaces, is to be almost 107 meters high. With its “natural beauty of the double helix”, the building should be a symbol as well as a modern, innovative and ecologically influenced work space at the same time. The double helix symbolizes the human DNA. In the building it can be found both in the form and in the structural design of the building. Two spiral-shaped walkways that wind around the outside of the building will be landscaped with trees and all sorts of green plants so that employees will think they are on a hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A piece of “Waltons” atmosphere seems to be guaranteed and gives the Amazon building an ecologically green paint.
Amazon emphasizes that the buildings are developed according to the highest sustainability standards. The central heating and cooling system is fully electric, and 100 percent of the energy comes from a solar park in southern Virginia. Amazon wants to underpin its efforts to be CO2-neutral by 2040 .
Priority for pedestrians and cyclists
The 22 hectare open spaces around the building complex, which should be accessible to the public, are also green. Plans include an amphitheater for cultural events, retail pavilions, restaurants, a daycare center and a 20,000 square meter educational space for public use by educational initiatives.
Overall, Amazon is focusing on pedestrians and cyclists having priority over vehicles. Amazon wants to handle vehicle traffic completely underground. This applies to both employee vehicles and those of the suppliers. Above ground there will be footpaths and bike paths to create a safe environment for them, as Amazon says.
The development of the new headquarters campus is not yet complete after two years of planning. Now they want to get feedback on the project from the residents in the next few months. When the project should then be finished, Amazon left open. Construction work on the first two 22-story office buildings is already underway. They should be completed in 2023.
Other tech companies have also had their headquarters designed in an unusual architecture. Apple has erected a circular building with a lush park in Cupertino . Google plans to build a new headquarters in the form of a giant tent in Mountain View. Facebook let the well-known architect Frank Gehry take over, who created a huge building with underground parking spaces and a lush roof garden in a green setting in Menlo Park.