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Amazon hopes biospheres become as iconic as The Space Needle

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What did we learn from the New York Times’ write-up of the impending bubbles?

The Amazon biospheres got their big moment in the New York Times over the weekend and while the centerpieces of Amazon’s three-block, 3.3M square-foot campus are still being constructed, we learned a lot about what we can expect once they’re finished.

There are going to be a lot of exotic plants in there.

“Amazon is growing actual plants, more than 3,000 species of them spread around a one-acre greenhouse a half-hour’s drive from Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle. There are carnivorous pitcher plants, exotic philodendrons and orchids from Ecuador that resemble the menacing flora from “Little Shop of Horrors.””

Those plants are part of the full experience of working inside the complex.

When they open in early 2018, the spheres will be packed with a plant collection worthy of top-notch conservatories, allowing Amazon employees to amble through tree canopies three stories off the ground, meet with colleagues in rooms with walls made from vines and eat kale Caesar salads next to an indoor creek.

Don’t forget trees. They’ll be plenty of trees as well.

Plans call for 40 to 50 trees, including a 45-foot fig tree that will be crane-lifted into one of the spheres.

Meeting rooms? Nah. How about meeting treehouses?

The spheres will have meeting areas called treehouses, and suspension bridges high off the ground that will be just wobbly enough to quicken the pulses of employees who walk over them. “Amazon said, ‘Make this fun,’” said Mr. Alberda, the architect.

The temperature will be regulated to match that of a cloud forest.

During the day, Amazon will keep the spheres at 72 degrees and 60 percent humidity, while at night the temperature will average 55 degrees and the humidity 85 percent, which Mr. Gagliardo said would be optimal for the cloud forest plant specimens it has collected.

Amazon wants the spheres to be up there with the Space Needle when it comes to iconic Seattle sights.

“We wanted it to be iconic, a structure that would be similar to another icon in the city, like the Space Needle, for newcomers to Seattle,” said John Schoettler, director of Amazon’s global real estate and facilities. “It would be a found treasure in the downtown neighborhood.”

The public will be welcome inside, though the details remain spotty.

Also, even though the article says that the spheres “will be accessible to Amazon employees only,” PSBJ confirmed with an Amazon spokesperson that “the plan is still to have this commercial space open to the public.”