One of the projects many designers are contemplating for buildings is the integration of modern architectural frameworks with the existing ones.The created initiative is one focused on the need to create an environmentally sustainable , green space while creating a futuristic artistic work. The Eden Project, located in Cornwall, UK, is a reflection of the latest developments in architecture incorporating these aspects. The project incorporates a range of biomes and natural habitats that welcome growing of any plant form, ranging from Rainforest Ecosystems to the region’s native plants. The design and engineering of this particular building is one that continues to grow and develop, specifically as an experiment to combine the natural with the future.
The initiative of the Eden Project is one that is designed to change various aspects of the environment into eco – friendly living that each individual can enjoy. The project started in the 1990s as a Groundbreaking Millennium Projects initiative which was to be initiated in the year 2000. The project started with finding a 160-year-old china clay quarry that was no longer used and was considered a land pit. The team began to construct a variety of biomes to change the space and to offer a different form of living in the area that was before devastated.
The beginning consisted of building a drainage system from the natural rainfall and was followed by taking natural soils from land mine waste that could be fertilized over a given time frame.The construction also consisted of natural healing from the sun; however, the biome structure automatically offers 90% humidity at night and 60% at day with recycled water that provides 60 inches per year to assist with the living of both plants and animals (Eden Project, 2011: 1).
The initiatives of the Eden Project, while based around the green movement and new structures were also built with the ideology of creating community at the same time. The system was designed with the understanding that tourists would be interested in the new initiative. This has been combined with events, such as from musicians, as well as from conservation programs, that continue to grow. The Eden Project can continue to expand because of the vast amount of land that is surrounding the area, with the last biome being completed in the year 2005. The goal was not only to create a different initiative that was based on a new structure but also had the purpose of creating a social enterprise for entertainment, education and enjoyment. These two goals altered the layout and offered a different approach to creating the biomes from the first initiatives designed (Eden Project, 2011: 1).
The design was first initiated by creating biomes, precisely because this offers a natural environment to conserve energy while providing a natural habitat for creatures. The landscape consists of two main biomes, both of which have smaller biomes extended from the primary origin. The biome landscape was laid out as a path which curves in the same rounded shape from one biome to the next, specifically to keep the central theme of the natural biome as a part of the overall landscape and about the individual biomes.
Landscape of the Biomes
(Overview of Eden Project)
The biomes are divided according to the type of habitat that is offered. One is based on a Mediterranean environment, while the second can hold a rainforest environment. This is combined with a middle space that carries a habitat for natural plants which can grow within Cornwall. The initiative of the design was important not only because of the leading landscape but also with the need to create a natural habitat and structure. The main biomes are covered with tubular steel space frames in a hex – tri – hex form.
This is combined with hexagonal cladding panels that are made from thermoplastic ETFE. This was used because it is lightweight and wouldn’t cause disasters from weather and environmental changes. It is also known to absorb sunlight and other natural elements easier than materials such as glass. The panels that are surrounding this framework include UV transparent ETFE film, which is sealed and inflated to create a cushion that acts as a thermal blanket. The result of the bio structure with these materials is a self – supporting figure that doesn’t need internal support and which copies a geodesic structure (Eden Project, 2011: 1).
(inside Eden Project’s Rainforest Dome)
The design that was created with the internal structure and materials is followed by the creation of the natural habitat that also invites those interested in the environmental aspects of the building. The biodomes don’t offer a natural habitat with plants and animals without providing a space for education about conservation and appreciation of the natural habitat. The architectural dimensions inside the dome also combine the natural elements with the new.
The architects have created circular structures for growth, as well as pathways that can be used for individuals to explore the inside components of the dome.
Inside Tropical Dome
(Tropical Dome Pathway for Education)
As can be seen from figure 3, the architecture inside the dome uses the natural elements of the tropics, including trees, plants and the rocky landscape for wildlife to be a part of. However, there are also bridges and pathways for individuals to explore the dome. This shows the combination of social and educational lifestyles of the modern world with the natural past combining.
The importance of the building is one which creates a sense of unity between the natural and the new. The first aspect of this comes from the design that is used to represent three biospheres with the landscape used. The importance is not only from the two biomes but also from the middle space, which can mean the natural habitat of the region.
(Structure in Between the Biodomes)
This particular aspect can heighten the idea of the natural as well as how newer designs can coincide with this. The building of the domes, including the use of soil, irrigation systems which naturally recycle the water and the internal structure being able to stand without support continue with this. The approach which the architect took was combined with using materials that would help to heighten the use of natural lighting and materials while allowing these to be upgraded to specific standards for natural and human-made ecology. This approach shows a natural component that is combined with the modern as a representation of how contemporary societies can alter ideologies with the atmosphere while remaining in harmony with the structure.
Another important aspect of this is the decision and central vision of the architectural team and those creating Eden Project, specifically with the initiative to combine social events. The biomes are used as natural habitats first and are combined explicitly with education for individuals interested in conservation and appreciation of the environment. However, the project also includes artistic works, music and other components that are of interest to the society in the region.
Art Installation in Domes
(Field of Light Installation by Bruce Monro)
The metaphor that is created is based on the combination of the contemporary culture with that of the natural. The ability to add in social events and artistic works takes this a step further with a metaphor that shows how art is nature and how the newer skills can combine with this to make something more unique and different. The concept of the natural that is created through the human-made materials, as well as the decisions to use and create the most natural eco-systems then combine with the artistic works to build a deeper understanding of how there is a sense of unity between nature and man.
The concept of the Eden Project is one which is represented by the natural meeting contemporary society. More important, it is a revival of the older land into something that invites a new component of the eco-system and the wild. The project is one which shows through the materials, main construction and the events which have come out as a part of this as one which combines both the natural and contemporary elements. The project is connected with continuous growth as well as the ability to use the overall form of the architecture in a style that can take the natural and to make it into a modern structure.