Rising above the federally commissioned expansion projects during WWII, a group of Seattle-based architects formed an allegiance to shape the world of architecture with a tint of their essence into it. The architects, namely- Floyd Naramore, William J. Bain, Clifton Brady, and Perry Johanson, now set out on a new mission focusing on its domain expansion overlooking the Pacific Northwest of its country, to now, over multiple cosmopolitan cities. The firm and its people, which were once only a local name, exclusive for their design and planning methods, eventually showed an exponential growth level while presenting its innovative designs and sustainable architecture. 

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Visualization of Vivo’s new headquarters in Shenzhen, China_ Image: Courtesy of NBBJ

As mentioned on their online website- “We create healthy places, strong communities, and a resilient environment, all while helping clients create lasting change,” the firm strives to create an experience for its users, one that nourishes their health and helps them to experience a better space, that confines them in. The extensive publication of such an assertive motto for the firm has not only brought in many new clients but also helped the company create a name for itself that assures its clients and is well respected. 

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Visualization of Life and Mind Building at Oxford University_ Image: Courtesy of NBBJ

To maintain all of what the firm claims to be, they prefer to keep every aspect of its design rituals in check. 


Although the inclusion of sustainability as a concept has always posed many problems to designers and thinkers, NBBJ has made it their principal concern and of its utmost importance to regulate the lifetime of the structure in a way such that it allows the user to experience a healthy environment and a life that is performance responsive. 

Carrying forward the same notion, the firm is now a signatory to The Climate Pledge, along with 300 more globally renowned participants, which now share a commitment to be ‘net-zero carbon‘ by 2040, ahead of the Paris Agreement’s goal of 2050 by a decade. Such an action, along with the ‘CarbonNeutral certification’, reassures not only the designers but the users as well to take a step forward towards practising interactions within the user and the form of architecture and to create a safe and healthy planet for ourselves. The goal is also to attain an initial level of self-dependence and harmony for future generations, to carry the baton of our sustainability vision. 


Mentioning being “empathetic”, NBBJ aims to create ‘space for all. ‘Rooting from problems of seclusion and differences, the firm strives to develop areas that serve everyone, helping them explore and discover their individuality. To attain such feats, the firm supports the curious nature of every individual. It promotes communications through which one could find their niche and place themselves accordingly in their own space, helping them co-exist with their neighbours and environment. 


NBBJ rose to the position where it now stands by the constant display of its proficiency and the quality of work, that it served to its clients. The one thing that they achieved all throughout their career was the approval and satisfaction that they provided to their clients. This deed did not only put smiles on the faces of its users but also the acknowledgment and the resulting influx of new and bigger clients.

Some of their endeavours achieved over the course their years include-

Tencent Seafront Towers

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Tencent Seafront Towers_ Image: Courtesy of NBBJ

Conceptualized to seek connectivity between the pair of offices, NBBJ completed the construction of this superstructure by the first half of 2017. Designed for the infamous technology conglomerate, the headquarters spans a massive area of 80000m^2 and provides a virtual workspace for 12000 employees. With a total of 89 floors (50 in one office and 39 in the other) connected with three sky bridges, the firm pushes the multipurpose and extensive use of the structure with features such as community areas, green spaces, and fitness amenities.

As said by NBBJ- “The architecture of its (Tencent’s) new headquarters reflects the company’s rising international influence, its networked culture and the interconnectivity of the web.” implying the growth of this company is not only the form of its real estate portfolio but also with the relevance of the international e-commerce and web technology development market. Of all the design and its energy consumption strategies, the combined effort has helped reduce the carbon emission to as low as about 40% compared to other generic office buildings. Taking into account the sun’s rise till the time it sets, a slight tilt from the perpendicular of the tower is observed to minimize glare and heat gain. Also, modifications are made in the atrium to direct the natural wind flow towards its interior.

Amazon Spheres

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Amazon Spheres_ Image: Courtesy of Sean Airhart Photography

The iconic trio of glass spheres embodying the essence of a botanical garden encloses an area of 67000m^2 for about 800 of Amazon’s work staff. The users are allowed to work, meet and dine within the “bird’s nest” ambience. The ring beam weighing about 400,000 pounds, transfers the gravitational force created by the structural members over to the concrete columns and a central core. The combination of glass and steel facade holds an accountable number of 40,000 plants, including 400 of the rarest and possibly extinct species. This collaborative space with such an artful design has positively impacted the productivity of Amazon officials and helped improve the carbon footprint.


NBBJ history-

Wikipedia (2022). NBBJ. [online]. (Last updated: August 2022). Available at: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBBJ [Accessed: 10 November 2022].


Margaret Montgomery/NBBJ (2022). Five Questions About How Sustainability Improves Human Well-Being Here and Now, Not Just the Distant Future. [online].  Available at: https://www.nbbj.com/ideas/five-questions-about-how-sustainability-improves-human-well-being [Accessed: 10 November 2022].

Climate pledge- 

NBBJ (2022).NBBJ Signs The Climate Pledge, Committing to Become Net-Zero Carbon by 2040. [online]. Available at: https://www.nbbj.com/news/nbbj-signs-the-climate-pledge-committing-to-become-net-zero-carbon-by-2040 [Accessed: 10 November 2022].

“Our story”- 

NBBJ (2022).Our Story. [online]. Available at: https://www.nbbj.com/our-story [Accessed: 10 November 2022].

Tencent global HQ- 

Designboom (2022).NBBJ connects shenzhen towers with skybridges to form tencent’s global HQ. [online]. Available at: https://www.designboom.com/architecture/nbbj-tencent-seafront-towers-shenzhen-china-04-12-2018/ [Accessed: 10 November 2022].

Amazon Spheres-

Archdaily (2022).Amazon Spheres/NBBJ. [online]. Available at:  https://www.archdaily.com/920029/amazon-spheres-nbbj [Accessed: 10 November 2022].


Srajati is an explorer with a bundle of nerves; Architecture to her is a paradigm of service & opinions are her ruling passion. A scribbler exploring endless stories believes in sharing them with the world around to connect architecture with all that is.