Amazon’s Arlington Headquarters to Highlight Helix

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March 1, 2021
Helix-shaped building with plants around it
Rendering of The Helix. Image courtesy
of NBBJ/Amazon.

Plans designed by architecture firm NBBJ have been submitted for Amazon’s new headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, near the United States Capitol. One of the four buildings will be shaped like a double helix and offer two walkable paths of landscaped terrain. The 350-ft.-tall tower, dubbed “The Helix,” will be the centerpiece of the PenPlace campus, which will also include three 22-story office buildings (for a total of 2.8 million sq. ft.), a 250-seat outdoor amphitheater, and public green space.

The featured building’s shape is a reference to the prevalence of said form in nature, such as in the double-helix shape of DNA. Much of the shared space, including 2.5 acres of open spaces, will be open to the public in an effort to foster a bond with the community rather than merely creating one within the culture of the company itself. The $2.5 billion Arlington HQ2 will feature native plant species incorporated into alternative workspaces within The Helix to “prioritize areas for collaboration, natural light, and a constant interaction with nature.”1 All vehicle access will be planned for underground, further creating a pedestrian-friendly environment.

The new buildings are designed to LEED Platinum standards, the highest certification available from the United States Green Building Council. The project will also incorporate an all-electric HVAC system which will draw its power from a solar power farm in Pittsylvania County, in southern Virginia.

— Archinect, Amazon, CNN

1. Schoettler, John. 2021. “The next chapter for HQ2: sustainable buildings surrounded by nature.” Accessed Feb. 4, 2021.