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Understory at The Spheres by Graham Baba Architects

Understoryat The Spheres is a multifunctional exhibit and visitor center designed to tell the story of The Spheres, Amazon’s iconic and unique insertion into the heart of Seattle. The exhibit unravels the complexity of the architecture and engineering and the very idea behind bringing people closer to nature on a daily basis in the heart of the city. The 3,883-square-foot exhibitis situated at the base of one of The Spheres, providing a fly-through of the orbicular buildings above and something the visitor won’t get in The Spheres themselves, extreme close-up, and intimate footage of the plants in an interpretive and immersive experience.

Designed by Graham Baba Architects

Photographed by Benjamin Benschneider

The experience begins at the entry, which features a curved, organically formed vestibule, crafted in venetian plaster. Entering the space itself, a series of tall, high-definition screens encircle you, providing a shifting video panorama of plants and trees, accompanied by a soundtrack that evokes sounds of nature. At distinct locations, visitors standing in front of the large video wall can hear stories about the plants in The Spheres that sound like whispers through the forest, which nobody else can hear. Arrayed around the perimeter of the space is a series of five displays, each providing a deep dive into different aspects of The Spheres’ story, such as biophilia, the idea behind The Spheres, and the design and engineering of the buildings. Modular cubes are assembled into a variety of forms to display architectural models, three-dimensional interactives, and a changing array of small-scale plants. Touchscreen installations hold video content for visitors to immerse themselves int