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The Jungle Of Amazon: 40k Plants Under A Single Urban Oasis

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Five years after the first proposal of the construction of three glass domes on its downtown Seattle campus, Amazon is set to welcome employees into its fully realized, plant-filled Spheres next week, and herald yet another perk of working for the ever-growing tech giant. The whole idea behind bringing around 40,000 plants from over 30 countries in the enclosed tropical climate of downtown Seattle was to help the people working at Amazon to “think differently”, relax, meet, and get them away from the traditional workplaces bringing them closer to nature.

Many of those traditional work spaces loom over the Spheres in Amazon’s high-rise Doppler and Day 1 towers which bookend the Spheres at Lenora Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in the city’s Denny Triangle neighborhood. The transformation of this part of the city, stretching north throughout South Lake Union, is part of Amazon’s effort to rethink how corporate campuses are built in an urban setting. The glass biodomes, or orbs, or balls — or whatever else they have been called since taking on their official name — have been an architectural curiosity in Seattle since they began to take shape. Construction crews broke ground on the Spheres in 2015, and completed the steel skeleton a year later.

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Beyond three retail experiences at street level where the public will have access, non-employees will have to register for an official Amazon headquarters tour to see more. Even employees must use a reservation system in the early going — it’s already booked through April — to keep the Spheres from being overrun by a crush of people working in Amazon, which has 40,000 employees in Seattle alone. “There’s an amazing teaching moment here, and we envision being able to open these Spheres to the public occasionally for field trips and for educational purposes with different schools and universities,” said John Schoettler, Amazon’s vice president of global real estate and facilities. “This is our office space, and we don’t invite the public into any of the towers. This is just an alternative working space for our employees.”

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