The Eden Project is the largest plant enclosure in the world built in the lightest and most ecological way possible.
The project is situated in a 15-hectare landscaped site, formerly a worked out Cornish clay-pit. Phase 2 of its development refers to the 'biomes', a sequence of 8 inter-linked geodesic transparent domes threading around 2.2 hectares of the site, encapsulating vast humid tropic and warm temperate regions.
The biomes are an exercise in efficiency, both of space and of material. Structurally, each dome is a hex-tri-hex space frame reliant on two layers. The efficiency of the frame relies on the components of the geometric shapes: steel tubes and joints that are light, relatively small and easily transportable. The cladding panels - triple-layered pillows of high performance ETFE foil - are equally as efficient, with maximum surface area and minimum perimeter detailing.
The biomes were unveiled on 17 March 2001 and received 1.956 million visitors in their first year of opening. The project is now one of the top three charging attractions in the UK and the second most visited destination outside London. It employs 630 staff (the brief's estimate was 165), has filled every single educational place in its capacity and has brought £150m into the local economy.