Amazon has unveiled the next phase for its second headquarters in Arlington. The 2.8 million-square-foot HQ2, PenPlace, will transform Arlington’s skyline. Designed by global architecture firm NBBJ, who led the design of Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, PenPlace is the next step of Amazon’s expansion. Amazon tasked the firm with blending singular architectural and ecological elements to create a sustainable, healthy environment for Amazon employees and the local community.
“Increasingly, we see leading companies invest in these [energy] strategies,” NBBJ’s lead architect on the project, Dale Alberda, told Architectural Digest. PenPlace will feature an all-electric central heating and cooling system that will run on 100% renewable energy from a southern Virginia solar farm. It will also seek LEED Platinum certification. According to the lead architect, the design of the new building was inspired by the natural world, where double-helix geometry exists in various forms.
Of the three planned office towers, the most notable is PenPlace’s centerpiece structure, which resembles its namesake. A double helix swirling skyward, The Helix interweaves manicured gardens and native plants and trees.
“It draws its formal inspiration directly from the natural world, where the double helix geometry can be found in many forms, including plants, seashells, DNA strands, and even our galaxy,” Alberda said.
In addition to 2.5 acres of open public space, an amphitheater for outdoor concerts and movie screenings, and a forest grove, PenPlace will offer street-facing retail and restaurant options, as well as dog parks, day care facilities, and spaces for food trucks.
At the base of the building, a host of new restaurants and retail spaces will open, adding more jobs to the area and spurring more economic growth. The PenPlace project broke ground in early 2020 and is slated for completion in 2025.
“When the public health situation improves and as regulations allow, we will continue to see value in bringing our employees together in a physical space to cross-pollinate ideas and foster collaboration. With our hiring and construction on pace, we’re ready for the next chapter,” Amazon said in a statement.
Amazon selected Arlington for HQ2 in 2018. NBBJ, opening its 12th location in Washington, DC, will be close by to supervise the project.