They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so Amazon, get ready to be flattered.
The idea for the triumvirate of spheres built as part of Amazon’s new Seattle campus came directly from Jeff Bezos, who wanted the site to include an architectural icon, and now it appears another new building is following his lead.
In anticipation of a design review meeting later this month, Vancouver B.C. developer Westbank Project Corp. submitted its latest plans for a 46-story residential, office and retail tower along just a few blocks from the Amazon campus, complete with a nearly 60-foot-tall geodesic dome. The dome, first spotted by The Daily Journal of Commerce, is meant to house the amenity space, including a swimming pool with views out toward Elliott Bay.
In project documents, the team mentions the Montreal Biosphere, a dome built for the 1967 World’s Fair, as an inspiration for the design, but not the Amazon spheres.
The planned 499-foot tower, at 2000 Third Ave., calls for 38 floors of residential with 453 units above six floors and 103,480 square feet of office space. The first two floors will include 21,910 square feet of retail. James K.M. Cheng Architects is listed as the design architect and MG2 is the architect of record.
The project will also include a public art element, according to project documents, by Seattle artist John Hogan. Big art projects in new developments are becoming common in Seattle, at Amazon buildings as well as the new F5 Tower in downtown Seattle.
Though Westbank is headquartered in Vancouver, it is no stranger to the Seattle area. The company was behind the original plans for the Lincoln Square development in downtown Bellevue, Wash. and eventually sold the project during the dot-com bust. Westbank has another project in downtown Seattle and one in the First Hill neighborhood as well.
Amazon’s Spheres are set to open early next year. The company marked the arrival of the very first plant to the spheres, which will eventually house hundreds of tropical plants in a climate similar to the altitudinal zone found in Costa Rica or Indonesia. Employees will be encouraged to use the space as an escape from normal office life, where they can get in touch with nature and use the setting to “think and work differently.”
And while The Spheres will have capacity to hold more than 800 people, non-Amazonians who have watched with curiosity as the project takes shape won’t have daily direct access to the inside. But next year the general public can get in by signing up online for one of Amazon’s campus tours, on which The Spheres will be a stop.