Amazon biospheres: a new way to build in cities

In these offices the employees work with natural light, between streams, bushes, and next to the corpse flower

Amazon biospheres: a new way to build in cities

Amazon, in addition to revolutionizing the concept of electronic commerce, now wants to transform its offices IGNORE INTO large green spaces, where the walls are replaced by trees, electricity by natural lighting and the air that is breathed can be as fresh as that of a rain forest.

At the end of January, the technological giant inaugurated three biospheres on its grounds in Seattle, USA. The huge spheres of glass and steel have been adequate to improve the conditions and performance of Amazon workers. There are no concrete walls, closed offices, or desks. Instead, employees can gather in cabins suspended on trees over 10 meters high, or at one of the multiple work stations located along trails and small streams. It has been considered as an ideal environment, which as the company indicates, “can inspire creativity and even improve the functioning of the brain”.

The environmental conditions within the transparent spheres are carefully designed to ensure the welfare of both the employees and the natural environment that surrounds them. “Plants, trees, sunlight, land, and water are the protagonists. The sound of flowing water and the scent of flowering plants immediately create a botanical immersion that keeps visitors away from the urban environment”, the company said in an official statement.

Home of the corpse flower

It sounds futuristic, but the Amazon biospheres already become a tangible example of urban growth without natural destruction. The spheres, which are interconnected with each other, also house 40,000 plants of 400 species from all over the world. One of those that has aroused greater curiosity both to the press and to the inhabitants of the city is the corpse flower.

The “Amorphophallus titanum”, or corpse flower, is a giant plant native to the jungles of Sumatra in Indonesia. Its particular name was awarded to it due to the strong stench it emits as a defense mechanism: an odor similar to decomposing meat. The flower of this plant has a slow growth that can last up to 10 years. Once it has reached its maturity, the flower reaches three meters in height, acquires a weight of 75 kg, and its life can extend up to 40 years.

Amazon decided to grow the corpse flower inside its facilities because there are very few greenhouses that are dedicated to the preservation of the curious plant. It is also considered an interesting event that both employees and residents of the sector can evidence and record the growth of the flower over 10 years.

Of the three biospheres of Amazon the largest is 30 meters high and 40 in diameter. They are also accompanied by five medium skyscrapers that seek to revitalize the city and send a message for the preservation and care of plant species. As the company puts it in its statement, “Amazon employees can work in an environment that looks more like a rainforest lost in the clouds than an office.”

Although the facilities are for the exclusive use of the workers and it is not planned to open for the external public, institutional or previously planned visits are accepted.


Latin American Post | Krishna Jaramillo

Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda

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