Document Type

Thesis, Senior




Spring 2019


multi-level fulfillment center, Amazon, warehouse, technological advance, skyscraper






This thesis looks for at the projection of Amazon's patent drawings for vertical fulfillment centers and speculates on their design to evolve into a significant typology in the present day.

Amazon is the world's largest online retailer. In June of 2017, Amazon released one of their most compelling patents, a multi-level fulfillment center with a beehive structure for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The release of the drawings made international news. These could change the way distribution centers are perceived and designed. In 2017, Amazon had 300 million users worldwide. Rapid growth has enabled Amazon to expand to different continents and forced them to open new fulfillment centers globally. In North America, there are more than 75 fulfillment centers, with plans to open more. Amazon has also developed new ideas and patents for technology that can be implemented in their fulfillment centers.

Warehouses as distribution centers have complex operations. Most recently, there have been proposals to incorporate them into the urban environment. The development of these types of buildings within larger cities creates an opportunity for architects to become part of their design. Logistics has grown along with technological advances and could be implemented in the urban environment.

This thesis takes Amazon patent drawings as a starting point to speculate about a future in which distribution centers take the typology of a skyscraper and become part of a city. The new fulfillment center will aim to bring public programs that will interact spatially with the different logistics of the company to create unique relations among them. People will be able to experience the new Amazon tower and its logistics away from the computer and in a physical way. The vertical fulfillment center, as a city within a city, will become an icon of current times.

Additional Information

Thesis Advisors:

Nicole McIntosh

Gregory Corso

Jonathan Louie


Local Input

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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