Contemporary Architecture

Nicholas Grimshaw – The Eden Project


  • A contemporary British Architect
  • Born in 1939
  • Belongs to High tech modern era.
  • Educated at Wellington College
  • President of the Royal Academy
  • Won a RIBA national award
  • Waterloo railway terminal awarded the accolade of ‘Building of the Year’

Major projects:

  • National Space Centre in Leicester
  • Flats, Camden
  • Railway station, Melbourne
  • Enneus Haeerma Bridge

Design Philosophy:

  • Always seeks alternative and better means to address an architectural problem, such as a suspended glass wall or the creation f adaptable free-span space.
  • A concern with generous circulation and social spaces
  • Very precise and inventive detailing
  • Designing components that explore the potential of materials and technology
  • a steady evolution, from the earliest buildings to the latest.

The Eden Project ,Cornwall:

  • World’s largest greenhouse and a visitor attraction
  • The aim of the building is to promote the understanding and responsible management of the vital relationship between plants, people and resources, leading to a sustainable future for all.
  • The complex comprises a number of domes that house Plant Species from around the world, Visitor Centre, The core, and landscape areas
  • The domes are made out of hundreds of hexagons plus a few pentagons
  • constructed in an unused china clay pit
  • State-of-the-art computer simulations were used to model the path of the sun throughout the year, to identify the best hot spots for the greenhouses.
  • provided protection from the wind and ideal for sunlight.


  • Rainforest Biome (Area 3.9 acres) used for tropical plants, and is kept at a tropical temperature.
  • Mediterranean Biome (Area 1.6 acres) houses familiar warm temperate and arid plants
  • Outdoor Biome represents temperate region

Use of ETFE:

  • The biome panels are glazed with Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), which:
    • is less than 1% of the weight of equivalent glass.
    • costs 24% to 70% less to install.
    • lets through more sunlight
    • Has a high melting temperature
    • is not degraded by sunlight
    • suffers minimal deformation when it is windy
    • Easy maintenance
    • is recyclable.
  • Each polygonal panel is like a club sandwich, with three or four layers of ETFE heat-welded together.
  • Overall thickness is about two metres.


  • The domes are made out of hundreds of hexagons plus a few pentagons that interconnect the whole construction together
  • Structure is completely self-supporting, with no internal supports
  • maximum strength with minimum steelwork and maximum volume with minimum surface area

Environmental Aspects:

  • The domes provide diverse growing conditions, and many plants are on display.
  • a world-class centre for education and scientific research into environmental issues
  • Automated controlled ventilation and temperature
  • The massive amounts of water required to create the humid conditions of the Tropical Biome, and to serve the toilet facilities, are all sanitized rain water
  • the energy comes from a wind turbines.
  • The core has photo voltaic array on the roof top.

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