ZGF is designing the first phase of Amazon’s new headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. The project consists of two new buildings encompassing more than 2 million square feet of sustainable workspace, retail, and open space adjacent to Arlington’s Metropolitan Park.  This first phase is an important first step in creating an 18-hour urban district where Amazon’s future employees and the local community can live, work, and play.

Amazon’s development at Metropolitan Park builds on an existing residential master plan for the site while adapting it for an office and retail program. Two terracotta podiums characterized by warm and tactile elements will complement neighboring masonry buildings while enhancing the pedestrian experience. Inserted into each podium, a pair of exuberant and colorful glass towers are sculpted with deep setbacks to enable light and air to filter through the site while relating to the scale and rhythm of the surrounding neighborhood.

Amazon’s vision for its Arlington headquarters calls for an open and welcoming neighborhood integrated with its surrounding community. The participation of Arlington residents throughout a seven-month public review process revealed a common goal for a design that will strengthen the public realm while emphasizing connectivity, mobility, and accessibility. The project will establish more than 2 acres of new and renovated public open space at Metropolitan Park, landscaped green roofs on the Amazon buildings, and a continuation of the linear park along Eads Street. Along the site’s perimeter, protected bike lanes and intersections—the first in Arlington County—will create a bike-friendly environment, and ground-floor bike rooms will provide parking for more than 500 bikes. The project will include more than 65,000 square feet of lively ground-floor retail targeting the needs of the neighborhood, including shops, restaurants and a new daycare center. In addition, the development includes a 700-person meeting center that will be made available for use by Arlington County and community groups.

Amazon’s Arlington headquarters will play an important role in upholding its commitment to meet net zero carbon by 2040 and 100% renewable energy use by 2030. The LEED Platinum® buildings will be powered by 100% off-site renewable energy, and on-site strategies will help minimize energy and water use. High-performance features include thermal transition lobbies, a façade that will maximize daylighting of interior spaces while minimizing solar heat gain, and stormwater capture and reuse. Operable windows will allow employees to control their thermal environments, and biophilic elements will promote the restorative benefits of interacting with nature. The project will also encourage sustainable and healthy behaviors for employees. With an urban location well-served by mass transit, more than 50 percent of Amazon employees are anticipated to walk or take public transportation to work.