The Eden Project, an amazing eco-attraction in Cornwall, features two huge biomes; one that is tropical and one that is Mediterranean, both of which house thousands of plant species. Blue Forest, the world’s leading tree house consultant, in collaboration with Jerry Tate Architects, have just unveiled plans for a Biodiversity Nest as part of the new Rainforest Canopy Walkway in the tropical biome. The Biodiversity Nest will serve as an elevated walkway and platform for visitor education.
The Rainforest Canopy Walkway is planned as a timber and steel-framed decked walkway that will serve as a treetop route around the biome. The Biodiversity Nest will lie right in the middle of the rainforest canopy with two 52-foot bridges that lead to it from the Walkway. It will be surrounded by a timber enclosure to provide a more comfortable and it is intended to be an educational space focusing on biodiversity in the natural rainforest.
The challenge behind designing the Nest, says Jerry Tate, has been “to provide a spectacular education space which is comfortable to visitors of the rainforest environment, with a limited choice of materials that can cope with the aggressive environment.” In addition to the galvanized steel structure, the design team has been experimenting with heat-treated softwoods as a substitute for robust but unsustainable tropical hardwoods that would form the timber enclosure and deck.
The first phase of the Rainforest Canopy Walkway is expected to be completed and open to the public in June of 2013. The remainder of the Walkway will be completed in phases over the next three years and is planned to include elements like a weather station, a research station, and a waterfall cave, as funds become available. The Eden Project is currently working to raise money to build the Biodiversity Nest portion of the project.
Photos by Kilian O’Sullivan