Walking along the cold, soggy sidewalks of downtown Seattle, it is hard to imagine that exotic plants are able to thrive there. However, with the right lighting, temperature and amount of water, it can be a cornucopia of greenery.
View of the Amazon Spheres during the day. Photo by Amanda Marvin
Upon entering The Spheres, you are greeted with an earthy smell and sounds of nature that is bound to plant (pun intended) a smile on everyone's face that enters the building.
The Spheres, a new landmark, and a unique work environment are an ideal environment for a plethora of vegetation that is found in many different habitats of the world. This structure is finely tuned and regulated by a team that takes care of all of the different types of plants and their surroundings.
All of the flora originates from the Western Hemisphere and was either donated or brought in by surrounding facilities, some of which are close to extinction.
View from a walkway during a tour led by Principle Designer Dale Alberda.
The ecosystem is a home for carnivorous plants as well as species you would imagine only existed during the Jurassic Period.
From pitcher plants to unique variations of the palm tree family, like the one pictured above, The Spheres never fail to surprise visitors. Photo by Amanda Marvin
One plant, in particular, is a giant tree that was placed inside by a crane through an opening in the top of the magnificent glass domes. Commonly known as "Ruby" by Amazon employees and visitors, this fast-growing tree is the perfect centerpiece for a place such as this.
Ruby was first grown in a nursery, and she continues to thrive in The Spheres at a quicker rate than anticipated. Photo by Amanda Marvin
Just when I thought things couldn't get any better, I was introduced to the "tallest green wall in the United States" according to Principle Designer at NBBJ Dale Alberda. NBBJ, the architecture firm that designed The Spheres, joined Landscape Architect Site Workshop in October 2013 to plot The Spheres structure.
The green wall is chock-full of vegetation that begins at the floor and stretches to the top of the building. The coolest part? The plants along this wall are living free of soil, and the pockets that they live in sustain them with nutrient-rich water frequently.
The top of the 65-foot green wall being misted to resemble the environment of the Amazon. Photo by Amanda Marvin
The Spheres were created to be a workspace for all Amazon employees, and the outdoorsy aura makes for an innovative place to hold meetings, public speaking events and work on projects.
Amazon theorizes that the forward-thinking strategy of a completely vegetated office is destined to promote creativity as well as overall happiness for employees.
From Left: A sneak peek of the largest green wall in the U.S. as well as an inside look at the levels of The Spheres.
With seating that ranges from lounge chairs to cozy bird's nest benches (yes, you read that right), The Spheres are an ideal space for working comfortably.
The "bird's nest" is located on a raised, wooden walkway that overlooks all of the growth inside. Photo by Amanda Marvin
A small coffee shop exists on the 2nd level, called General Porpoise, that supplies employees with cold brew coffee, snacks, and doughnuts. As well as the recycle bin and trashcan, there is a compost bin that is used frequently where biodegradable cups are discarded.
With multiple places to work throughout the structure, the atmosphere varies at every table, rocking chair, lounge chair, and bench. Tables surrounded by vines and Venus flytraps are scattered on different platforms for group work. Outdoor lounge chairs are located in a cozy section at the top of The Spheres that receive direct sunlight during the day and a calming dimness that is perfect for laptop work at night. Furthermore, there is a meeting room called the "birdcage" that overlooks the thousands of plants that reside in the glass globes. The walls of this particular room are made to look cage-like to promote plant growth that will eventually cover the entire surface of them.
A rocking chair on the 2nd level of The Spheres.Photo by Amanda Marvin
All of the furniture inside The Spheres are created to endure an outdoor environment. This ensures that the furniture won't be ruined by the atmosphere's humidity, and promotes a more outdoorsy vibe.
Amazon employees working at two different levels of The Spheres in a tree house environment. Photo by Amanda Marvin
"It's a jungle in the middle of the city," says Dale Alberda, the principal designer of NBBJ who took part in designing this magnificent glass environment.
The Amazon Spheres are now open to the public by appointment every other Saturday, and you can get more information at https://www.seattlespheres.com/the-spheres-weekend-public-visits.