With an employee headcount of more than 20,000 in the Seattle area alone, American e-commerce giant Amazon is one of the largest employers in Washington State. Currently headquartered in a multitude of mid-rise buildings in Seattle's South Lake Union neighbourhood, the company is gradually moving operations to their new environmentally friendly campus. Situated less than a 10-minute streetcar ride away, the Seneca Group-developed properties span several city blocks bounded by Westlake Avenue, Blanchard Street and Sixth Avenue. 

Rendering of the completed Amazon Biosphere with Amazon Tower II to the right, image via NBBJ

The new complex will eventually include three towers of 160, 159, and 163 metres in height and add more than 300,000 square metres of office and retail spaces to the booming area. Designed by NBBJ, the first of a total of three phases was completed last December, while construction on phase two is presently under way and expected to open its doors some time this year. Characterized by colourful glass facades, the Amazon Towers will also greatly enhance the surrounding public realm, with a three-dome biosphere to grace the corner of Lenora Street and 7th Avenue. Planned to open in 2017, the photos below show the domes rapidly forming as their steel structures are assembled by construction workers.

The Amazon Biosphere under construction, image by SounderBruce via Flickr

With a maximum height of 29 metres and a diameter as wide as 40 metres, the bubble-like structures were designed to provide Amazon's employees with stimulating spaces for work, meetings and lounging that recall the atmosphere of a park. Indeed, a mix of 300 plants from 30 countries around the globe will eventually be planted across five floors, where there is enough space to accommodate mature trees. Furthermore, the company announced that a full-time horticulturist will be hired to maintain the gardens, which will also feature ground level shops and restaurants and be partially accessible to the general public. Amazon hopes to contribute to the enhancement of the city streets through innovative green and public spaces, while integrating the new complex into the urban fabric.

The Amazon Biosphere under construction, image by SounderBruce via Flickr

It will be a few more months before the biosphere takes its final shape, with the glass panels sealing off the space and allowing for the gardens to be planted. Until then, additional images and information about the project can be found in our Database file linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread or leave a comment at the bottom of this page.