amazon has unveiled proposed development plans for the second phase of its arlington, virginia headquarters. designed by NBBJ — the architecture firm behind amazon’s seattle spheres — the project’s centerpiece is ‘the helix’, a tower filled with a variety of work environments for amazon employees. as with ‘the spheres’, the building allows staff to be immersed in nature with lush gardens and native trees populating the entirety of the spiraling structure.

all images courtesy of amazon



‘a true double helix in shape and structure, this unique building will feature two walkable paths of landscaped terrain that will spiral up the outside of the building, featuring plantings you may find on a hike in the blue ridge mountains of virginia,’ says amazon. the company says that ‘the helix’ will also host an artist-in-residence program for local creative talents. meanwhile, tours of the structure several weekends a month will allow the public to experience the building in person.

amazon NBBJ helix



in total, NBBJ’s design includes 2.8 million square feet of new office space distributed across three 22-story buildings. these working environments prioritize areas for collaboration, natural light, and a constant interaction with nature. the design also seeks to promote well-being and physical exercise, agency (the ability for employees to choose when, how, and where to work), and a strong connection with the local community. ‘we believe that campuses should be neighborhoods that bring people together and not isolated, employee-only spaces that ignore their surroundings,’ notes amazon.

amazon NBBJ helix



a variety of open spaces totaling more than 2.5 acres will be accessible for public use. an amphitheater facing a central green can host outdoor concerts, farmers’ markets, and movies in the park, while a forest grove offers shaded areas for relaxation on a hot day. elsewhere, retail pavilions and restaurants will be conveniently located throughout the site. the plans also include room for a childcare center, a dog run, and a food truck area with outdoor seating. meanwhile, a 20,000-square-foot space can support educational initiatives of different sizes as well as community meetings.

amazon unveils NBBJ-designed 'helix' as part of its arlington, virginia headquarters



the publicly accessible spaces throughout the site will prioritize pedestrians and cyclists. ‘we plan to make a significant investment to move all vehicle access underground to foster a safe and welcoming pedestrian environment for everyone,’ amazon says. ‘visitors and neighbors won’t see service vehicles crossing the new site as all deliveries and docking activity will happen underground, freeing up even more space for the community.’

amazon unveils NBBJ-designed 'helix' as part of its arlington, virginia headquarters



from an environmental standpoint, the project includes an all-electric central heating and cooling system that will run on 100% renewable energy from a solar farm. this aligns with amazon’s climate pledge to be net-zero carbon by 2040. see other projects relating to amazon on designboom here, including a grocery store with smart shopping carts and alexa wayfinding and a sports arena planned for seattle. 



project info:


name: amazon’s arlington, virginia headquarters — second phase
location: arlington, virginia, US
company: amazon
architect: NBBJ

philip stevens I designboom

feb 02, 2021


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