March 1, 2021 /
Jona Elwell

Trees on Structures and Amazon’s HQ2

Earlier this year, Amazon unveiled plans for its second, East Coast headquarters across the Potomac in Arlington, Virginia. While HQ2 has been called everything from an ice cream cone to a corkscrew, our eye went to something else entirely in the renderings-there were so many trees on structure!

The 2.8 million-square-foot HQ2, PenPlace, will no doubt transform Arlington’s skyline. Of the three planned office towers, the most notable is PenPlace’s centerpiece structure, which resembles its namesake. A double helix swirling skyward, The Helix interweaves manicured gardens and native plants and trees. 

Whether or not Amazon delivers on those, and many more, promised remains to be seen but one thing is certain: the plantable space in DC is not growing, it is shrinking. There is only so much dirt and room for trees on public land and while private land is the final frontier for trees, there is still only so much soil there too. So where to go next? Up! Why not put the trees on structures. From highway tunnels, parking garages, to roofs, the possibilities are endless. 

In fact, we’re so excited by the prospect of trees on structures, we wrote an entire book on it! Growing Above: Trees on Structure  is our stunning coffee table compilation on success stories of trees on roads, buildings, etc. This book highlights projects throughout the District that feature different types of trees on structures. From the Kennedy Center, to Earth Day Park, to CityCenterDC, we celebrate the designers and developers who are making waves in green infrastructure, and aim to inspire others to follow in their path. Pick up your copy in our online store today! It makes a great gift or conversation piece and best yet? Your purchase goes directly towards our mission of restoring, enhancing, and protecting the tree canopy of our nation’s capital.

Article photo courtesy of NBBJ.