Architecture firm NBBJ have unveiled the design of The Net, a next generation office tower in Seattle that fosters wellness and community. The firm's proposal comes as an answer to the problematics that high-rise buildings impose on individuals and urban spaces, such as lack of communal integration and the difficulties of accessing fresh air from the outdoors due to mechanical ventilation systems imposed on the facades.
According to the firm, most tall buildings are predictable. The team evaluated the pros and cons of high-rise towers which are being built in cities across the world. Although buildings with such typologies help reduce physical and environmental footprints, as well as provide critical space for housing, work, and recreation, the architecture firm saw that tall towers "hinder physical and social health", as their vertical floors tend to isolate inhabitants and reduce connectivity amongst them.
The Net reimagines office buildings and serves as a model for a new generation of commercial architecture. It prioritizes two key design frameworks that improve human wellbeing and performance: wellness at work and the connective high-rise. The project encourages movement and connections to nature. Sky Park, a three-story rooftop, will provide outdoor access to nature and panoramic views of the city. Visitors can access the rooftop via a 33-storey circulation stair, which promotes physical activity.
The building also employs a "touchless street-to-suite” access, a design strategy that allows tenants and visitors to enter the building and arrive to their destination without touching any surfaces. The building will utilize 100% of air and water filtered from the outside, and will also feature bike storage and a repair stations. Sensors will be integrated throughout the building to monitor users’ thermal comfort.
Since it's an anti high-rise, The Net promotes connection between individuals. The side core design creates a 20% increase in visibility among colleagues and visitors. The open spans on the ground floor enhance a more fluid movement around the space and create unique gathering spaces for expansive public amenities.
The building broke ground in March and construction is now underway.