Samsung America Headquarters
San Jose, CA, USA
The project encompasses approximately 3.3 million square feet on three city blocks, including three 37-story high-rise office towers, a mid-rise office building, a multi-purpose meeting center that seats 2,000 people, and the landmark The Spheres. To reflect Amazon’s community-focused culture, the design seeks to build a neighborhood rather than a campus, with emphasis given to ground-level amenities open to the public and to diversity in building character.
For instance, ground-level retail on each street front, sheltered pedestrian arcades and public art create a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood in an urban area formerly dominated by surface parking lots. The design also includes a public dog park, two-way cycle track on 7th Avenue, with dedicated entrances for bicycle commuters immediately adjacent to the main lobbies, and tower curtain-wall systems that extend upward to screen the rooftop mechanical equipment.
The first high-rise, named Doppler, was completed in 2015. At 37 stories tall, it contains offices as well as ground-level retail and restaurants, and it also links to the five-story, arena-style multi-purpose meeting center, which will serve the entire headquarters. The second high-rise, Day One, opened in 2016.
The centerpiece of the new Amazon headquarters is The Spheres: a multi-story, glass-enclosed workplace containing tens of thousands of plants and trees from around the world. As exposure to nature is proven to put people at ease and help them think more creatively, The Spheres are designed to help Amazon employees feel and work their best, and are open to the public on weekends.
The Center of Energy contains a range of employee amenities, including a marketplace, food venues, labs, tech support, meeting areas, an outdoor terrace and other alternative workspaces.
Because choice is increasingly important in the workplace, spaces throughout the Center of Energy are designed to accommodate multiple functions, from dining to team meetings to heads-down work.
Research has shown that, when stairs are visible and well-designed, as in the Center of Energy, employees are more likely to make the healthy choice of walking instead of taking the elevator.
Design features throughout the Center of Energy connect employees to the company’s mission, as in the conveyor rollers — like those used in Amazon distribution centers — employed as room dividers.
AIA Seattle, Honorable Mention
The Architect’s Newspaper, Best of Design Awards, Facades
CoreNet Global Washington State Chapter Awards, Innovative Workplace of the Year (over 20,000 SF)
Dezeen Award, Business Building (shortlist)
Interior Design Best of Year Awards, Green Category, finalist
Seattle Design Review Program, People’s Choice Awards, 2nd Place, Highrise Category
Architectural Record, “Amazon Spheres by NBBJ Open in Seattle” January 31, 2018
CNN, “Amazon's new workplace perk, the Spheres, to open Monday” January 26, 2018
Fast Company, “A First Look At The Spheres, Amazon’s Wild New Corporate Biodome” January 26, 2018
Bloomberg, “Inside Amazon’s Giant Spheres, Where Workers Chill in a Mini Rainforest” January 26, 2018
The Seattle Times, “Take a look inside Amazon’s Spheres as they get set to open” January 26, 2018
Wired, “Amazon’s Expansive Biodomes Get Their First of 40,000 Plants,” May 6, 2017
The Seattle Times, “Amazon’s Spheres: Lush nature paradise to adorn $4 billion urban campus,” January 3, 2017
The New York Times, “Forget Beanbag Chairs. Amazon Is Giving Its Workers Treehouses,” July 10, 2016
The Seattle Times, “Amazon’s artsy, amenity-packed tower marks a reshaped neighborhood,” May 7, 2016
Popular Science, “Is Amazon’s Dome Headquarters the Workspace of the Future?” April 25, 2016
BBC, “How the tech industry is redesigning the future workplace,” May 1, 2015
The New Yorker, “High-Tech Companies, Low-Tech Offices,” April 25, 2014
Wired, “Architects Invent the Future of Work,” January 17, 2014
NPR, “Check Out These Futuristic Tech Company Headquarters,” December 24, 2013
All Things D, “Amazon Builds the Spheres, While Google Opts for the Hulk,” October 26, 2013
Fast Company, “Amazon Is Building A Biosphere For Its Employees,” May 23, 2013
Wired, “Amazon’s Urban Biospheres,” May 23, 2013
The Wall Street Journal, “Amazon Acquires Blocks in Seattle,” February 18, 2012
San Jose, CA, USA
Seattle, WA, USA