The Eden Project: The Core   Cornwall, UK

Hand in hand with its role as a visitor attraction is the Eden Project’s commitment to education. Tepees formed provisional educational facilities which were replaced by the Core, accommodating classroom and workshop spaces, an exhibition hall and a café.

The design concept was developed from naturally occurring geometries. The roof is the focal point of the design with pinecone ‘scales’ formed by a grid of timber panels, insulated with recycled newspaper. These are clad with a standing-seam system of copper panelling.

A combination of pyramids and windows are dispersed across the roof, allowing natural ventilation and illumination over the exhibition space and to the café. The building is sympathetic to the contours of the Bodelva pit and falls across three levels. These form the natural division of use separating the public areas from educational areas.

The glazed entrance draws the visitor into a lobby which links to the expansive exhibition space. The middle level is sectioned into more intimate spaces that serve as the children’s classrooms, and on the uppermost level, a café and terrace circulate the central core.

The collaboration with sculptor, Peter Randall-Page RA was a key part of the evolution of the design. At the centre of the building, Randall-Page developed the idea of a large-scale granite sculpture representing the latent energy found in apparently inanimate seeds.

Randall-Page's sculpture, 'Seed', is housed in the central core, an area of the building designed collaboratively between Grimshaw, Randall-Page and the photographic artist Susan Derges. As a counterpoint to the noise and bustle outside, this space provides a quiet contemplative environment for the appreciation of natural forms.

The design of this building has been a true collaboration between architects and an artist. Peter Randall-Page has been involved in setting the geometry of the structure as well as the design of the sculpture inside. .

Jolyon Brewis, Partner, Grimshaw

Cornwall, UK

Project Type
Culture and Exhibition Halls →

Eden Project Limited

3,157 sq m



Adam Parker, Peter Cook/View