Walking up to Amazon’s new headquarters, visitors are greeted by three giant glass spheres. These spheres, considered “centers of energy,” are the centerpiece of the new headquarters, and consist of multi-story workplaces filled with plants and trees and enclosed by glass. But these aren’t just some gimmicky decoration. Rather, the spheres are meant to be a place where employees can gather to find a sense of calm and to work together more creatively.
Open to the public on weekends, the spheres serve as meeting spaces during the week for Amazon employees. The spheres are technically “pentagonal hexecontahedron” formations. Design computation was used to come up with the buildings by “tessellating a pentagon across its surface.” Those computations were then translated into a steel and glass structure. Three fabricators from the Pacific Northwest of the United States were brought in on the project to create the structure. The primary pieces were constructed in a warehouse and then sent to the site to be put together. The manufacturing was so precise that very few adjustments were needed during assembly.
Inside the spheres there is plenty of room for Amazon employees to think, work, and collaborate. Platforms mix in with the more than 25,000 plants—there’s even a tree house connected with bridges and a waterfall. The spheres are meant to be an amenity for employees to help them be able to step away from their desks. Located on the first level of the Amazon campus, the spheres are neighbors to street-level retail locations and parkland that includes a public dog run. These areas serve as social hubs for employees and feature even more amenities, including a marketplace, food venues, labs, tech support, meeting areas, and outdoor terrace, and “alternative workspaces.” The entire project—including the 37-story tall high-rise office towers, a mid-rise office building, and a multi-purpose meeting center large enough to hold 2,000 people—takes up approximately 3.3 million square feet on three city blocks.