Amazon submitted a redesign of its plans for the PenPlace HQ2 to Arlington County, to address some of the issues raised by the public and county planners at its last public meeting on development in July. Among the concerns addressed: adding more bike lanes, allowing better public access, and creating a more pleasing skyline (check out the offerings here).
Regarding the latter complaint, one might assume that Arlington took a valid stand against the Helix Building – a giant silver emoji (or is it a soft-serving cone?)– Aimed to serve as a cornerstone of the campus. One may be wrong. Apparently, space turd is okay with Northern Virginians, but there have been concerns that the surrounding office buildings will contribute to a “boxy and unimpressive skyline,” according to the Washington Business Journal. Amazon’s solution: Trying to make solar panels for buildings an interesting part of the skyline.
It’s a slightly perplexing concern, given that Arlington isn’t exactly known for its breathtaking architecture. Perhaps exhausted during my time in Washington, Rosslyn’s squat, plump skyline above me was simply lost, but not exactly once did I see anyone outside the tower working to capture the glory of corporate America from the Georgetown waterfront.
Although an unexpected decision, I commend the efforts of the NoVa audience for trying to add a little beauty to the Pentagon City/Crystal City neighborhood – part of the former town Washington Writer Ben Farid described it as “a bizarre, semi-failed neighborhood experiment” that no one likes. As someone who lives on a journalist’s salary and isn’t looking forward to the next tech-driven rent increase, I have no complaints about pushing the redesign for final approval from late 2021 to 2022.