Though the greenhouse is one of the oldest building types, its conflation with the office building types in the 20th century was still regarded as a wondrous spectacle. Kevin Roche’s Ford Foundation building, for example, was a marvelous example of the combination of corporate modernism and biphilic design when it was completed in 1967 – so much so, in fact, that it inspired a number of imitators.
One such imitator is NBBJ’s Amazon Spheres, completed in Seattle, Washington last year. For the Los Angeles Review of Books, Sheila Liming reflects on how the interiors of the famed spheres are designed to appear lush, open and airy to render labor invisible (or, at least, to ‘beautify’ labor). “While I saw plenty of plants and waterfalls and tropical fish, plus the occasional latte,” Liming writes, “I didn’t see a lot of work happening, including the work of tending and maintaining the plants, which must be substantial in order for the space to function and look its best. And this, I began to suspect, might be the whole point.”…[READ MORE]