Workers are entering a new phase of construction at Amazon’s new campus on the edge of downtown Seattle, beginning the installation of glass panels on the exterior of the massive biospheres that are destined to become an icon of the technology giant’s expansion in its booming hometown.
GeekWire has been tracking the progress of the biosphere construction from foundation to exoskeleton. Now the westernmost sphere has been painted white, and the glass has started to go up. These new photos were taken this weekend by GeekWire contributor Kevin Lisota.
The structures will be part of a 3.3 million-square-foot office and retail complex spanning three blocks bounded by Westlake Avenue, Blanchard Street and Sixth Avenue, connected by a streetcar line to Amazon’s existing headquarters campus in the South Lake Union neighborhood.
The first office building in the complex opened in December, across the street from the block where the biospheres are going up. The biospheres are expected to open in 2017.
Amazon will employ a full-time horticulturalist for the biospheres, creating a unique gathering place that will house more than 300 plants from 30 different countries inside.
“I never could have imagined when I joined the company in 1999 that we would employ a full time horticulturalist to oversee the diverse plant life that we will have in the spheres,” said Jeff Wilke, now the CEO of Amazon’s worldwide consumer business, during a speech last year. “It will be a place where new possibilities are explored and ideas are formed.”
Amazon’s new campus is part of a broader push to increase its footprint in its hometown. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has pointed to the benefits of expanding in the city instead of the suburbs, although the associated growing pains have also created tension between Amazon, longtime Seattle residents and some city leaders.
Keep scrolling for more pictures of the site from this weekend.