Sourced from Lancaster Online
Workers at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle might forget where they are when they walk into three giant glass spheres filled with a rainforest, a river and thousands of plants.
And that’s exactly the point.
The Spheres were built to trigger the curiosity of those who enter their whimsical world. And a York County native had a hand in creating it as he brought 4,000 square feet of vertical walls to life.
Amazon hired Ben Eiben, 40, as a consultant four years ago to design and fabricate the living walls in the Spheres. Eiben grew up in tiny Jefferson Borough, where he helped in his parents’ garden as a child. He graduated from York Country Day School in 1995 and studied biology at Susquehanna University.
He started his career as a herpetologist at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, where he took care of the poison dart frog collection. For the frogs to thrive so they could raise their tadpoles, they needed tropical terrariums filled with healthy bromeliad plants.
Eiben continued his work with amphibians and tropical horticulture at Atlanta Botanical Garden before branching out to build zoo exhibits with a friend. This is how he got more involved with the growing field of green roofs and living walls.
That work then brought him to Amazon, where he’s now vertical horticulture manager.
The plants he’s selected fit the climate of the Spheres, yet they also tell a story. He says they bring nature back into our lives, which can inspire.
“You can learn and be curious about all of these elements that aren’t normally part of your day-to-day life,” he says during a break a few weeks after the Spheres opened in January.