One of her recent challenges was the lighting design for one of the most eye-grabbing buildings in Seattle—and arguably the entire U.S.—The Spheres at the center of Amazon corporate headquarters.
In addition to the lighting design, WSP provided the mechanical, plumbing and fire engineering, combining services to create a workplace for the online retailer that has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
One of the challenges was creating a mini rainforest where the plants would thrive, while still maintaining a comfort level necessary for an active workplace. In particular, lighting proved to be a complex aspect of the project.
“Detailed planning was essential to strike a balance between light levels that would provide horticultural light levels for equatorial plants, yet low enough to create a comfortable space for the human occupants of the space,” Taylor said. “A complex system of high-output LED sports lighting light fixtures in combination with daylighting sensors provides a robust and automatic horticultural lighting system.”
Working with architect NBBJ, WSP designed an architectural illumination strategy that created a dynamic, multi-use area housed within the Spheres. Lighting supports a program that provides locations for retail, dining, meeting and communal areas designed to encourage open and spontaneous collaboration.
WSP designers understood that one of the client’s top priorities was flexibility and the need for the lighting concept to adapt when there were changes in space usage. Since completion of The Spheres earlier this year, it appears that the lighting system has been a success.
“I recently was on-site at the Amazon Spheres project to make sure the lighting installation was complete and operating as designed,” Taylor said. “The experience was very rewarding as the project looks great, is unique, and the client is happy. Both the plant and human occupants are thriving in the space.”