If you’ve ever dreamed of working in a lush, greenery-filled dome, consider moving to Seattle. That’s where Amazon is building a biosphere (made out of three intersecting domes) alongside a new skyscraper project. Plans for the 65,000 square foot structure, unveiled earlier this month, call for a general temperature range of 68 to 72 degrees and plants from high-elevation climates (that’s the "montane ecologies" below) that can thrive in the weather.
From Amazon’s planning document:
While the form of the building will be visually reminiscent of a greenhouse or conservatory, plant material will be selected for its ability to co-exist in a microclimate that also suits people. To encourage growth and maintain the health of the plants, the building’s interior will include high bay spaces on five floors totaling approximately 65,000 SF and capable of accommodating mature trees. The exterior enclosure will be highly transparent and be composed primarily of multiple layers of glass supported by a metal framework.
In addition to a variety of workplace environments, the facility will incorporate dining, meeting and lounge spaces, as well as a variety of botanical zones modeled on montane ecologies found around the globe.
Not everyone is thrilled about the dome. Gundula Proksch, an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Washington and a member of Seattle’s design review board, asked the Seattle Times, "What is it offering other than making an experimental work environment?" The obvious answer: it’s an architectural attraction, something different from the uniform buildings surrounding it. Seattle already has the greenest office building in the world. Why not add a biosphere?
It’s an experimental work environment, sure, but it’s not all that different from how tech companies like Google and Facebook are building green roofs for their employees to enjoy. Facebook’s roof will even have hiking trails. In rainy Seattle, an indoor biosphere might be preferable.
And somewhere, Pauly Shore is smiling.