The standout feature of the design proposal for HQ2 includes a unique structure, dubbed “The Helix.” Amazon described the 350-foot-tall office tower as a “spiraling vertical forest” that features outdoor walkways with trees and plants that twist up to the top of the building.
The shape of the building is meant to resemble a double helix and touches on “humanity’s innate connection to nature,” according to architecture firm NBBJ, which is designing the structure.
The Helix will serve as an alternative workspace for Amazon employees, but it will also be open to the public on some weekends each month, similar to the “Spheres,” the nature-inspired centerpiece of Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.
Amazon said the designs make up the proposed development plans for the second phase of new construction on HQ2. If the plans receive approval from Arlington County, the company hopes to begin construction on the Helix and other office buildings on the site in 2022. Construction is expected to be complete in 2025.
The Helix, combined with three other office buildings at the site, called PenPlace, would create roughly 2.8 million square feet of office space.
Aside from office space, Amazon has set aside more than 2.5 acres of open spaces that are accessible to the public. There’s an amphitheater designed for outdoor concerts, farmers’ markets and other activities, as well as public green space.
Amazon said the site will also include retail pavilions and restaurants, in addition to other community spaces, such as a childcare center, a dog run and a food truck area.
Amazon said the site prioritizes “walkways, landscaping and retail over motor vehicles.” It plans to build protected bike lanes in the streets near the office buildings.
Amazon selected Arlington as the site of HQ2, in addition to the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, New York, as part of its well-publicized search for a second headquarters. The company announced in 2019 it would halt plans to build its new headquarters in New York after it faced pushback from local activists and city council leaders.
Last year, Amazon began building two additional, 22-story office towers in a development known as Metropolitan Park, which is located south of PenPlace.
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