Amazon’s Urban Biospheres Give New Meaning to ‘Tech Bubble’

In case you doubted that the 21st century as envisioned by past generations’ pulp futurists had arrived, check out the biospheres Amazon has proposed to anchor its new Seattle headquarters.

Architectural firm NBBJ unveiled the drawings this week to mixed reviews from a city design board, The Seattle Times reported. The three glass-and-steel bubbles would include five floors of work space and would be large enough to house “mature trees.”

The idea behind the domes seems to be to give Amazon employees a flexible, engaging place to gather, in keeping with the prevailing tech industry notion that creative spaces encourage creative thinking. Unlike Silicon Valley competitors Apple, Google and Facebook, however, which all have sprawling suburban campuses with plenty of room, Amazon’s planned headquarters will sit adjacent to downtown Seattle in the fast-growing South Lake Union area.

According to the Times, the three city blocks Amazon bought at the end of last year for $207.5 million would each include three high-rises and three smaller buildings totaling 3.3 million square feet. The spheres would be between 80 feet and 95 feet tall and up to 130 feet in diameter.

One source of controversy at the board meeting Tuesday was the lack of public access to the buildings. People in the surrounding park area could see into the spheres but not go in. The one exception is a kind of funny fit for Amazon: The world’s largest online retailer plans to have offline retail space in its brand-new tech bubbles.

Thanks and with permission from Wired

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