Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Amazon Builds the Spheres, While Google Opts for the Hulk

night 4

As with Apple, Facebook, Samsung and many other tech companies, Amazon and Google are in the analog building business of late.

According to the Seattle Times, the e-commerce giant had its plan for a “five-story office building formed by three intersecting spheres” unanimously thumbs-upped by that city’s design-review board.

There are still other approvals to go, as well as building permits, for the structure in downtown Seattle by architect NBBJ, part of a larger 3.3 million square-foot campus.

Noted the Times: “The spheres still would range in height from 80 feet to 95 feet and feature a mix of flex work space and an atrium of plants and trees. The area between the spheres and a 38-story office tower would still include a dog park, a walkway and an open field.”

Perhaps more intriguingly, Google is apparently working on a floating data center that CNET is describing as “hulking.”

Wrote CNET: “It’s unclear what’s inside the structure, which stands about four stories high and was made with a series of modern cargo containers … One expert who was shown pictures of the structure thinks so, especially because being on a barge provides easy access to a source of cooling, as well as an inexpensive source of power — the sea. And even more tellingly, Google was granted a patent in 2009 for a floating data center, and putting data centers inside shipping containers is already a well-established practice.”

And, of course, since it’s Google, it’s hiding in plain site in the middle of the San Francisco Bay.

Google also has a big HQ project going with NBBJ, which is also the architect behind the new Samsung North America campus in Silicon Valley and Tencent’s new digs in China.

Facebook, too, has ambitious plans to expand its campus. And, of course, Apple has already got the go-ahead for its Apple Campus 2 project, a 2.8-million-square-foot structure of curved glass, concrete and steel nicknamed the “Spaceship.”

(Image of Amazon offices rendering courtesy of NBBJ.)


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