First Peek at Amazon’s New SLU Headquarters

[ Boren Ave N., between John St and Harrison St, looking West ]

Shown above is the initial concept(pdf) for Amazon’s new headquarters in South Lake Union, to be presented at the Early Design Guidance meeting on April 2. This project owes its existence to a two-block, rezone granted by the City Council last December that raised the building height limits from 65 and 85 feet to 160 feet.

The architect is Callison, and LEED Silver is being targeted. The 11-story building to the south, known as block 35, will be the first phase, with 328k square feet total, of which 151k sf is parking (500 stalls), and 4500 sf is retail.

[ View looking East ]

Update: Since it’s so early in the process, I was going to refrain from commenting on the design, but… for the biggest and most well known online bookstore on the face of the planet, wouldn’t one expect a world headquarters that was a little more architecturally adventurous, a little more iconic, perhaps? What they’re showing so far is totally generic office building. Why not, say, a building that looks like a row of books on a bookshelf? Or something crazier. Where is the sense of pride? Or at least sense of humor or fun. Amazon is a phenomenal success story. I say let that big ego fly.

9 Responses to “First Peek at Amazon’s New SLU Headquarters”

  1. Nate

    At the south end, John St. presents a great opportunity for a public stairway, like the Harbor Steps. The right of way has been preserved, but seems to be used exclusively by mountain goats. I’ve only tried to use the steep dirt path once as a short-cut through the neighborhood, and came back to my desk dirty.

  2. dorian gray

    If they had gone for the “ego fly” they would have been lambasted for not taking the neighborhood into account. It’s only the first DRB. They’re expecting to be yelled at no matter what they present -this is effectively a massing study they’ll refine pending whatever mood the DRB is in the day they present.

  3. Cow

    Your idea makes me think of the Kansas City library:

  4. Sam Lambeau

    Funny comments. I remember Amazon not posting any profits for the first what – 9 years of existence? They built their current success on the surfaces of door tables and hard-ass labor. Essentially it’s a working man’s company (or working woman’s), and moving into buildings that look more like they’re designed to be part of the working person’s life rather than an ostentacious dot-com instant success seems like the right thing to do to this working man. And books on shelves? C’mon – I think something like 40% of their revenue is all that comes from books now. They’re all about selling anything and everything. (I bought furnace filters from them last month. Odd size I couldn’t find anywhere else.) The new offices maybe should look more like warehouses, not bookshelves. Hey; they kinda do.

  5. Josh Mahar

    Aren’t they current;y in the old Beacon Hill Medical Center? That thing is an awesome art deco piece of work. They really should spruce up their design plans a little bit.

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