The Eden Project in County Cornwall, England is the world’s premier example of greening and repurposing an ecologically-damaged former mining site. Cornwall is the UK’s poorest county, having lost the majority of its traditional jobs when the ubiquitous china clay mines closed down.
The landscape is thus littered with these dead spots. But one of those dead spots came back to life, thanks to a visionary named Tim Smit, who wrote an excellent book about the experience, titled Eden. The Eden Project, which is sort of an “eco-Disneyland”, is Cornwall’s largest private employer, generating some ₤900 Million in economic benefits in its first 10 years. But its primary mission is environmental education.
Until now, visitors stayed in the many hotels among the charming fishing villages along Cornwall’s spectacular coastline. Now, in April of 2017, Tate Harmer’s design for a new £8.5 million hotel at The Eden Project has received planning permission. Set to open in 2018, it will comprise 109 bedrooms, a restaurant, and education rooms.
Using locally sourced materials, the hotel will sit sensitively within the Cornish countryside and offer high standards of accessibility, energy-efficiency and sustainability.
Massing has been carefully considered to minimise visual impact but optimise space for visitors. The Eden hotel will be split across three and four-storey blocks, connected by a central axis that will feature existing sycamore and oak trees and Cornish hedgerows, and create a new public area and event space.
Circulation is arranged to maximise views and create a feeling of connectivity to nature for visitors and users.
Local stone cladding will be used at the lower level of the buildings, and locally-sourced timber poles are designed to set the main accommodation blocks into the surrounding landscape. “
The hotel will provide on-site accommodation for some of the Eden Project’s more than 1m annual visitors, and enhance the facilities it can offer as a venue for events, summer concerts, conferences and weddings. Tate Harmer’s design will feature 27 larger rooms suitable for family and inclusive accommodation.
Two new classrooms in the hotel will support the Eden Project’s educational programmes, including apprenticeship schemes and degree-level courses.
This is the latest project by Tate Harmer for the Eden Project, in a collaboration that began in 2011 and has included the Rainforest Canopy Walkway, a high-level visitor experience in the Rainforest Biome, the second phase of which completed this summer.
Jerry Tate, a partner at Tate Harmer, said of the Eden Hotel: “This building is a unique response to its local Cornish context and the philosophy of the Eden Project. Landscape is at the heart of the scheme. We are proud to have developed this design with the Eden Project as part of our ongoing relationship.”
Work is set to start on site in late 2017 with completion due in 2018.
Artist rendering of hotel courtesy of AVR London.