Amazon has opened its new urban headquarters named The Spheres in Seattle, Washington, US, featuring a biophilic design with open-plan offices, conference spaces and desks.
The three Spheres feature treehouse meeting rooms, river and waterfalls, paludariums, a four-storey living wall and epiphytic trees. The largest Sphere stands 90ft-tall with a diameter of 130ft.
Built to provide a tropical rainforest environment to Amazon employees, the $4bn buildings are filled with more than 40,000 plants with many of them sourced from cloud forest ecosystems.
Amazon Global Real Estate and Facilities vice-president John Schoettler said: “Our goal with the Spheres was to create a unique gathering place where employees could collaborate and innovate together, and where the Seattle community could gather to experience biodiversity in the centre of the city.”
The 400 different species that can be found in the facility have been sourced from botanical gardens, tree nurseries and conservation programmes from 50 countries on five continents. Some of the specimens are from The University of Washington (UW) and Atlanta Botanical Garden.
The new facility also includes a visitor centre called The Understory, which is open to the public throughout the year.
UW Department of Biology professor and chair Toby Bradshaw said: “The use of plant biodiversity, including the ‘weird’ and ‘ugly’ specimens, to tell the story of interconnections among living things will be an inspiration to all who visit and work at The Spheres.”
Built with 620 tonnes of steel and 12 million pounds of concrete, construction of the facility created more than 600 full-time jobs.
The Spheres have been designed with 2,643 glass panes and the exterior features a geometric pattern with a total of 180 Catalan shapes.
Tested for all types of environmental conditions, the building’s base features a 400,000lb ring beam, which transfers heavy loads of gravity, wind and seismic forces from the glass and steel structure to columns in the parking garage below.
The Spheres operate on a diurnal cycle, where the daytime temperature will average 72°F with humidity at around 60% and a night-time temperature of 55°F with 85% humidity.