The competition for the headquarters of Amazon in the Northwest of the USA resulted in a winner: Arlington. Now, it comes to light what its spectacular skyscraper will look like.
In 2017, Amazon launched a competition for the construction of its new headquarters. Madness and debauchery invaded the country’s metropolis. The Amazon HQ2 was a resounding success of participation and publicity for the company, and gave as winners: New York and Arlington, Virginia. However, in 2019, discrepancies with local politicians made the company decide not to build in the Big Apple. At that moment, all eyes were on Virginia.
What would be built? When? What would it mean for the city? The last question is still an unknown, but the first two are already beginning to be answered. Amazon has released the first images of its future headquarters. It is a tower that has been nicknamed The Helix due to its spiral shape with a double helix, a shape that, surely, will not leave passersby unperturbed, nor will scholars of architecture and the environment. .
The Helix, the Amazon building in Virginia
The company has entrusted the project to the international studio NBBJ Architects, with offices in several US states and in other cities around the world such as Hong Kong, London, Pure or Shanghai. They are the creators of the famous Seattle spheres, 30-meter-high structures that house 1,800 Amazon employees, and which are home to vertical and hanging gardens, and trees and flowers everywhere.
The unique building The Helix will provide users with two steep access platforms to its summit. Some platforms covered with large trees, bushes, and different varieties of flora. These paths will delight hikers, give fresh air to that part of the city, and provide incredible views for Amazon employees. In addition, it will contribute to generating a new skyline for the city, since it is located very close to the Potomac River. See this publication on Instagram
A sustainable building where vegetation is the protagonist
Of course, the vegetation will be native to the place, so that its conservation is easier and it blends in with the environment, simulating being part of the nearby Cordillera Azul or Blue Ridge Mountain. The designers have envisioned three modern buildings up to 22 stories high for the headquarters, which will provide the company with some 260,000 square meters of surface area. Work environments where comfort and good treatment of the environment prevail, with plenty of natural light and a healthy environment. In other words, with a lot of green.
In this way, it is intended not only to achieve the objectives of sustainable development, but also to promote well-being and physical exercise for employees, involving them directly with the local community. To achieve this, they will execute more than 10,000 square meters of parks and areas open to the general public, with an amphitheater for concerts, markets or open-air cinemas. The urban plan also includes restaurants, retail stores, day care centers, a dog park and 1,800 square meters of space for community and educational gatherings.
The Amazon building is shaped like a helix.
Another important action will be the introduction of vehicular activity underground, «hiding» the passing of cars from citizens, and avoiding the noise and inconvenience they generate. NBBJ wants to achieve LEED Gold certification for its HQ2 and has designed the complex to be self-powered. The cooling and heating systems for all three buildings are powered from a solar farm in Pittsylvania, about 250 miles away.
The Helix will reach 106 meters in height, with a glass envelope, and garden areas. Its double helix is a nod to nature’s fondness for this shape, from DNA to the Milky Way. Obviously, the silhouette allows for a variety of interpretations, from an ice cream cone, through the tip of a giant screw emerging from the ground, to a Christmas tree, or Pieter Brueghel’s “The Tower of Babel”.
The beginning of a real estate revolution
In any case, it is evident that the tower will stand out among the nearby buildings, giving a new life to the place, a social, aesthetic and, above all, economic life. And it is that Amazon foresees the transfer or hiring of 25,000 employees, in fact, in December 2020 it approached 1,600 to the area. This will also result in the construction of new neighborhoods to welcome this new wave of people. This real estate gale already has a name: National Landing.
It is expected that the tower will have a construction permit this year, that the works will begin next, and will be completed in 2025. Large population movements are not news, nor is it that a large company changes a built environment, in fact, there is talk of gentrification and part of the population does not agree with the arrival of Amazon. However, changes are necessary and if they provide for better living areas, they should be welcome.