Eden Project

The Eden Project is a visitor attraction, including the world's largest greenhouse.

The project is located in a reclaimed Kaolinite pit, located convert|1.25|mi|km|0 from the town of St Blazey and convert|3|mi|km|0 from the larger town of St Austell, Cornwall, United Kingdom.Ordnance Survey (2005). "OS Explorer Map 107 - Fowey, Looe & Lostwithiel". ISBN 0-319-23708-3.]

The complex comprises a number of domes that house plant species from around the world, with each emulating a natural biome. The domes are made out of hundreds of hexagons plus a few pentagons that interconnect the whole construction together; each of these is a transparent cushion made of tough plastic. The first dome emulates a tropical environment, the second a warm temperate, Mediterranean environment.

The project was conceived by Tim Smit and designed by architect Nicholas Grimshaw and engineering firm Anthony Hunt and Associates (now part of Sinclair Knight Merz), with Davis Langdon carrying out the project management, Sir Robert McAlpine and Alfred McAlpine [ [http://www.edenproject.com/about/543.html Eden Project - The story so far] ] undertaking the construction and MERO to design and build the biomes. The project took 2½ years to construct and opened to the public on 17 March 2001.

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Layout

The project is constructed in a disused china clay pit. Once into the attraction, there is a meandering path with views of the two biomes, planted landscapes, including vegetable gardens, and sculptures that include a giant bee and towering robot called RSA WEEE Man created from old electrical appliances.

Biomes

At the bottom of the pit are two covered biomes:
*The Rainforest Biome, which is the largest greenhouse in the world, covers convert|1.559|ha|acre|1 and measures convert|180|ft|m|0 high, convert|328|ft|m|0 wide and convert|656|ft|m|0 long. It is used for tropical plants, such as fruiting banana trees, coffee, rubber and giant bamboo, and is kept at a tropical temperature.
*The Mediterranean Biome covers convert|0.654|ha|acre|1 and measures convert|115|ft|m|0 high, convert|213|ft|m|0 wide and convert|443|ft|m|0 long. It houses familiar warm temperate and arid plants such as olives and grape vines and various pieces of sculpture. The Outdoor Biome represents the temperate regions of the world with plants such as tea, lavender, hops and hemp.

The biomes are constructed from a tubular steel space-frame (hex-tri-hex) with mostly hexagonal external cladding panels made from the thermoplastic ETFE. At the outset, glass was proscribed due to its weight and potential dangers. The cladding panels themselves are created from several layers of thin UV-transparent ETFE film, which are sealed around their perimeter and inflated to create a large cushion. The resulting cushion acts like a thermal blanket to the structure. The ETFE material is resistant to most stains, which simply wash off in the rain. If required, cleaning can be performed by abseilers. Although the ETFE is susceptible to punctures, these can be easily fixed with ETFE tape. The structure is completely self-supporting, with no internal supports, and takes the form of a geodesic structure. The panels vary in size up to convert|9|m|ft|1 across, with the largest at the top of the structure.

The ETFE technology was supplied and installed by Vector Foiltec who are also responsible for ongoing maintenance of the cladding. The steel spaceframe and cladding package (with Vector Foiltec as ETFE subcontractor) was designed, supplied and installed by MERO (UK) PLC, who also jointly developed the overall scheme geometry with the architect, Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners.

The computer controlled environmental control system that regulates the heat and humidity within each biome was designed and installed by HortiMaX Ltd.(formally named "Van Vliet Automation Ltd".) who are also responsible for ongoing maintenance of the environmental control and monitoring systems.

The entire build project was managed by McAlpine Joint Venture.

The Core

The Core is the latest addition to the site and opened in September 2005. It provides the Eden Project with an education facility, incorporating classrooms and exhibition spaces designed to help communicate Eden's central message about the relationship between people and plants. Accordingly the building has taken its inspiration from plants, most noticeably in the form of the soaring timber roof, which gives the building its distinctive shape.

Grimshaw developed the geometry of the copper-clad roof in collaboration with a sculptor, Peter Randall-Page, and Mike Purvis of structural engineers SKM Anthony Hunts. It is derived from phyllotaxis, which is the mathematical basis for nearly all plant growth; the "opposing spirals" found in many plants such as the seeds in a sunflower's head, pine cones and pineapples. The copper was obtained from traceable sources, and the Eden Project is working with Rio Tinto to explore the possibility of encouraging further traceable supply routes for metals, which would enable users to avoid metals mined unethically. The services and acoustic design was carried out by Buro Happold.

Environmental aspects

The domes provide diverse growing conditions with many plants on display.

The Eden Project includes environmental education focusing on the interdependence of plants and people; plants are labelled with their medicinal uses. The massive amounts of water required to create the humid conditions of the Tropical Biome, as well as to serve the toilet facilities, are all sanitized rain water that would otherwise collect at the bottom of the quarry. In fact the only mains water used is for hand washing and for cooking. The complex also uses Green Tariff Electricity — the energy comes from one of the many wind turbines in Cornwall, which were amongst the first in Europe. Somewhat controversially one of the companies the Eden Project currently has a partnership with the British mining company Rio Tinto Group. Rio Tinto is set to commence mining in Madagascar for titanium dioxide. This will involve the removal of a large section of coastal forest, with the possibility of extensive damage to the unique biodiversity of the Madagascan flora and fauna. [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2005/aug/07/conservationandendangeredspecies.internationalnews Madagascar's unique forest under threat - The Guardian, UK, 2005-08-07] ]

History

The first part of the Eden Project, the visitor centre, was opened to the public in May 2000, however the full site was opened on 17 March 2001.

The Eden Project hosted the "Africa Calling" concert of the Live 8 concert series on 2 July 2005. It was also used as a filming location for the 2002 James Bond film, "Die Another Day". It also provided some plants for the British Museum's Africa garden.

In 2005 the Eden Project launched "A Time of Gifts" for the winter months, November to February. This features an ice rink covering the lake, with a small café/bar attached, as well as a Christmas market. Adding to atmosphere, Cornish choirs regularly perform in the biomes.

From 2006, the Eden Project has hosted a series of musical performances, called the Eden Sessions. Artists have included Amy Winehouse, James Morrison, Muse, Lily Allen, Snow Patrol and The Magic Numbers. 2008's summer headliners are: The Verve, Kaiser Chiefs and KT Tunstall. Eden will also be holding its first comedy Session in 2008, with Bill Bailey taking to the stage. [ [http://sessions.edenproject.com/summer-festival-line-up.php Eden Sessions website] ]

On December 6 2007 the Eden project invited people all over Cornwall to attempt to break the world record for the biggest ever pub quiz as part of its campaign to bring £50 million of lottery funds to Cornwall. [ [http://www.edenproject.com/about/3200.html The Eden Project - Eden raises the bar for the Edge in the world’s biggest-ever pub quiz ] ]

In December 2007 the Eden Project failed in its bid for £50 million of funding following the Big Lottery Fund popular vote, [cite news | url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7140621.stm | publisher= BBC News | date= 12 December 2007 | title= Routes scheme tops lottery vote | accessdate= 2008-02-03] when it received just 12.07% of the votes, the lowest for the four projects being considered. [cite web | url= http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_the_peoples_50_million.htm | publisher= The Big Lottery Fund | title= The People's 50 Million - Sustrans' Connect2 wins £50 million prize | accessdate= 2008-02-03] Eden wanted the money for Edge, a proposed desert biome. It hopes to find other ways to fund this project.

Criticism of Eden Project

In 2007 there was some criticism of the Eden Project in the press, expressing concerns over the amount of funding the project received, £130 million from various publicly funded sources, [cite web | url= http://www.millennium.gov.uk/cgi-site/awards.cgi?action=detail&id=172 | publisher= Millennium Commission | title= Eden Project | accessdate= 2008-02-03] [cite web | url= http://www.erdf.communities.gov.uk/CaseStudies/EdenProjectCaseStudy | title= Case Study: The Eden Project | publisher= Communities and Local Government | work= ERDF site for England | accessdate= 2008-02-03] [cite web | url= http://southwestrda.org.uk/news/release.asp?ReleaseID=1527 | title= The Queen to open the Eden Project's "Da Vinci Code Building" | publisher= South West Regional Development Agency | date= 1 June 2006 | accessdate= 2008-02-03] [cite web | url= http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=15629 | publisher= Cornwall | title= County Council Supports Future Development of Eden Project | date= 25 January 2006 | accessdate= 2008-02-03] saying the project should be more self-supporting. Also the Eden Project's carbon footprint has been criticisedWho|date=December 2007 for drawing over one million fossil-fuelled visitors a year to Cornwall mostly by car or plane and for staging rock concerts resulting in gridlock in the St Austell area. Concern has been expressed in local papers that the project has been orchestrated by a clique within the London establishment to secure funds for their project. [ [http://www.nowpublic.com/node nowpublic] ]

In literature

*Richard Mabey: "Fencing Paradise: Exploring the Gardens of Eden" London 2005: Eden Project. ISBN 1-903919-31-2
*Hugh Pearman, Andrew Whalley: "The Architecture of Eden. With a foreword by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw." London 2003: Eden Project Books. ISBN 1-903919-15-0
*Tim Smit: "Eden." London 2001: Bantam Press.
*Eden Team (Ed.): "Eden Project: The Guide 2005/6." St Austell 2005: Eden Books.
*Paul Spooner: "The Revenge of the Green Planet: The Eden Project Book of Amazing Facts About Plants." St Austell 2003: Eden Books.
*Philip McMillan Browse, Louise Frost, Alistair Griffiths: "Plants of Eden (Eden Project)." London 2001: Alison Hodge.

In the media

*Robin Kewell (Ed.): "Eden. The inside story." St Austell n.d.: The Eden Project. (DVD)
*Alan Titchmarsh: "The Eden Project." w/o location 2006. (DVD) ASIN|B000E1P2WQ|country=uk

ee also

*BIOS-3
*Biosphere 2
*Closed ecological system
*Montreal Biodome
*Montreal Biosphère
*Ecosystem
*Vivarium
*The Lost Gardens of Heligan
*List of topics related to Cornwall
*Bio-dome
*Sir Richard Carew Pole
*Thin-shell structure
*List of thin shell structures

References

External links

* [http://www.edenproject.com/ EdenProject.com] — The project's official website
* [http://www.theedge.org/ The Edge site] The official site of the Edge, Eden's next phase
* [http://sessions.edenproject.com/ Eden Sessions Website] Official site for 2008 live gigs
* [http://www.cornwall365.co.uk/cornwall/places,27,Eden-Project.html Eden Project photos from Cornwall 365] Eden Project Photos
* [http://www.viewsofcornwall.com/viewphotoplace/6/ Photographs of Eden Project photos from Views Of Cornwall]
* [http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=15629 Cornwall Council to give a £360,000 grant to the Eden Project (Jan 2006).] News article from Cornwall Council
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/cornwall/content/webcams/eden_webcam.shtml Webcam of the Eden Project] BBC Webcam link
* [http://www.mero-tsk.de/uploads/tx_cwtcartoongallery/Eden_Project_english.pdf Article about the Eden Domes (PDF file 5.1 MB)]
* [http://www.merouk.co.uk/structures/2000eden.htm Webpage about the construction of the Eden Project Biomes]
* [http://www.lookaroundcornwall.com/tours/eden-project-tour.htm Eden Project virtual tour]


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