The Eden Project is embarking on developing visitor centres in the US, China and Tasmania. The UK education and environmental charity is planning three for China. Grimshaw Architects and the creative consultancy LDA Design have been appointed to create the first of these – a new ecological park near the port city of Qingdao on China’s east coast.
Water sets the framework for Qingdao, and LDA Design and their ecology team will help to create wetlands, freshwater and salt lakes, swales, reed beds, rain gardens and beaches. One of the Eden Project’s key messages is that the world is ours to make better. The ecological park will harness Eden’s capacity, proved in Cornwall, to surprise and delight, at the same time as providing an understanding of water purification and how we can go about water protection and conservation.
The new park, which is being developed by Jinmao Holdings Limited, is situated on reclaimed land where two rivers meet. The site will draw on China’s 4,000-year-old relationship with the environment as well as the Eden Project’s ecological principles.
“We are thrilled to be part of the design team developing China’s first Eden Project, enabling people to explore and understand what water means for life on earth,” said LDA Design’s Neil Mattinson, senior board director. “This is a truly amazing part of the world and our aim is to create an unforgettable, rich experience where lasting memories are made at the water’s edge. We hope it will be a place where people return time and again.”
Since opening in 2001, over 19 million people have visited the Eden Project in Cornwall to discover more about plant life. Built on a former clay pit, the centre – which has become one of the UK’s top visitor attractions – features the world’s largest ‘rainforest in captivity’. It is estimated to have boosted the local economy by £1.7 billion.
Image credit: The Eden Project