Arlingtonians Seem to Like the HQ2 Designs, Thank You Very Much

  • March 26th 2021

by Nena Perry-Brown

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Amazon's HQ2. Click to enlarge.

While the public has been debating the merits and meanings of Amazon's eye-popping design for its Arlington headquarters (HQ2) since it was shared last month, it seems Arlingtonians are far less polarized.

On Thursday night, Arlington County launched the public review process for the HQ2 proposal, giving people their first opportunity to share comments and ask questions about what could be headed to the block northeast of S Fern Street and 12th Street S (map).

The proposal includes 3.16 million square feet of office space across three buildings with ground-floor retail, another 24,000 square feet of retail across three "pavilion" buildings, and a nearly 370,000 square-foot, 350 foot-tall corkscrew-shaped office amenity building dubbed The Helix, interspersed with over two acres of open space.

Another rendering of The Helix.

If the first meeting was any indication, Pentagon City residents are more interested in the nuances of the proposal than the ambition of the design.

The only noteworthy criticisms voiced were a comment that the rooflines of the non-Helix buildings are too "flat" and lack visual interest, and a concern that those same buildings have a noticeable lack of green space along the façade compared to The Helix. For those who chose to comment on the design, descriptors included "creative", "wonderful", "interesting", and "powerful".

Open space.

As for concerns, some wondered about the particulars of the sustainability plans and whether the development (don't call it a "campus") should meet its net-zero energy goal before the target date of 2040. There was also a question of whether the glass façades of the buildings would be bird-friendly.

Others were more concerned about the configuration and accessibility of the spaces that the public will have access to, including the central plaza, a 20,000 square-foot community center on the ground floor of one of the office buildings, and the outdoor terraces of The Helix itself.

NBBJ is the architect for the site and Scape Studio is the landscape architect. Assuming that approvals are timely, the first building could deliver by 2025. Amazon is already occupying some leased space in the neighborhood and has begun construction just down the street at Metropolitan Park.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/arlingtonians-seem-to-like-the-hq2-designs-thank-you-very-much/18052.

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