Green with envy at the office
Research shows that incorporating nature into workplace design has a significant impact on employees’ happiness, wellbeing and productivity. But these global office spaces take it to the next level, with green designs of the highest order each crafted to provide wellbeing and the most serene – and spectacular – working environments for staff. Here are five of the best:
Article by: Annie Reid
1. Amazon Spheres, Seattle, USA
Amazon’s brand-new botanical office spheres have recently been unveiled in downtown Seattle. Designed by architecture firm NBBJ, the largest sphere measures just over 27-metres tall and 40-metres wide and is nestled between two smaller spheres.
They have the ability to house 800 Amazon employees, 400 botanical species, a river, waterfalls, treehouse meeting rooms and a bird’s nest conference room. The structure is not technically spherical but rather comprises overlapping pentagonal hexecontagedrom Catalan panes of glass – a whopping 2,643 of them. The interior design juxtaposes lush greenery with structural concrete and, with minimal barriers or enclosed meeting rooms, this space encourages collaboration between colleagues and nature.
2. Microsoft treehouses, Washington, USA
Microsoft’s Washington headquarters, or ‘campus’ as it’s better known, has recently gone sky-high with the addition of three branch-based treehouses. Created by Pete Nelson of Nelson Treehouse and Supply, the treehouses sit approximately 3.5 metres off the ground in a Pacific Northwest Douglas fir tree.
Majority of the space is open to the elements, enabling employees to work and bask in the sun, while the collaboration meeting room is nestled inside the treehouse and features soaring ceilings and a skylight. It’s the result of Microsoft’s scientific research to create a new kind of workspace for its employees, which promotes wellness and stimulates creativity, focus and happiness by working among nature.
3. Apple Park, California, USA
Apple’s new corporate headquarters, Apple Park, is set on 175 acres in Cupertino, California. The main building’s circular design, created by Foster + Partners, gives the impression of an infinite loop with landscaping that features a large artificial pond, a forest of drought-resistant trees and various indigenous plants to the Cupertino area. Approximately 7,000 trees are set to surround the outside of the campus.
Steve Jobs’ original concept was to create a campus less like an office and more like a nature refuge. It’s powered by an on-site low carbon central plant and solar panels that line the building’s structure.
4. Facebook, California, USA
Menlo Park, California is an expansion of Facebook’s established headquarters in Silicon Valley. Much more than a new office building, this is a multi-purpose neighbourhood with 1,500 apartments, grocery store, pharmacy, shopping centre and public parks. Its congregational green spaces speak to the company’s vision of bringing people together and giving employees the opportunity to reap the wellbeing benefits of working al fresco.
Other highlights include a nine-acre rooftop garden, with a walking track and a garden comprising 350 evergreen, deciduous and flowering trees. Facebook’s design partner for this project is OMA New York and they envisage that construction will be completed in 2021.
5. Google’s Landscraper, London
Designs for Google’s London-based ‘Landscraper’ were unveiled to the public in mid-2017. The 330-metre long building concept has been designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio and features a rooftop that is covered with wild flowers and woodland plants.
Impressively, the building is as long as London’s highest skyscraper, The Shard, is tall, which leaves plenty of room for the rooftop garden to grow and blossom. To further nurture the work-life balance of its employees, the Landscraper will also include a 25-metre swimming pool, basketball court, wellness centre and a lookout platform. Development is set to begin during 2018.
About the Author: Annie Reid
Annie Reid is a qualified journalist, professional copywriter and published author with a passion for everything bricks and mortar. For many years, she’s written thousand of stories for newspapers, magazines and clients around the world. Somewhere between the heady buzz of headlines and deadlines, she discovered a niche for creating tailor made content for the property, real estate, architecture and design industries. Annie holds a Bachelor of Arts and is currently studying a Masters in Publishing and Communications, both from the University of Melbourne.