When in September 2017, Amazon announced a competition for its second headquarters’ location, it sent cities around the country into a frenzy. A year later, and with more than 200 applications, the online retailer announced not one but two winners—New York City (which it eventually pulled out of) and Arlington, Virginia. So finally, today, the company unveiled the first renderings of its Amazon HQ2 complex in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, located just across from Washington D.C.
The plan calls for three office buildings and one “amenity” building, retail spaces, a 250-seat outdoor amphitheater, and a dog run, all covering an area of about 3.3 million square feet. The highlight of PenPlace, the complex’s official name, is The Helix, a 350-foot tall nature-inspired swirling glass tower that "will include a hill climb that allows people to traverse the entire height of the building,” according to a press release by Amazon.
“A true double helix in shape and structure, it will feature two walkable paths of landscaped terrain that will spiral up the outside of the building, featuring plantings found in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains,” states on its website NBBJ, the architecture firm behind the project. The company also mentions that the inspiration behind the project is “Biophilia—the concept that describes humanity’s innate connection to nature.”
The Helix will also feature an Artist in Residence program and will be open to the public during select weekends every month.
According to the official Site Plan Application, all four buildings will be designed for LEED Platinum certification and will be powered by a solar farm owned by Amazon and located in southern Virginia.
The buildings and public spaces of PenPlace are slated to open in 2025.