Grimshaw has unveiled playful designs for a new Eden Project on the banks of the river Foyle in Northern Ireland, featuring a giant architectural centrepiece called The Acorn
The plans for the £67 million ecology park in Derry, a version of Grimshaw’s popular 2001 Cornish attraction, include walled gardens, treetop and floating walkways and a water activity centre on a 100ha site.
The team behind the project – Eden Project International and Foyle River Garden, a charitable trust that will run the park – says the project will create about 170 jobs and could open in summer 2023.
The proposed attraction would link the Boom Hall and Brook Hall estates and give the public access to previously inaccessible land.
The showpiece of the scheme is a giant play area called The Acorn, made of thatch and timber and designed to evoke Neolithic architecture.
Visitors to the park would be able to walk on the roof of the building and ride on zip wires down to surrounding walkways.
Declan McCafferty, partner, Grimshaw Architects said: ’As well as providing public access to this beautiful site for the first time, our design will deliver a long-term vision and future for the site’s fantastic built heritage and landscape.
’As an architect who grew up in Derry, it is a rare privilege to help realise something which could give so much back to the city and local economy.’
Tim Smit, the Eden Project’s co-founder, said the project would have a ’transformative capacity to draw visitors to the region and become a ’global must-see destination’.
Grimshaw’s original Eden Project in Cornwall attracts about 1 million visitors a year. The Derry park is part of the project’s wider expansion, which also includes plans for a £100 million Eden Project North in Morecambe and other attractions in China, also designed by Grimshaw.
The Eden Project is now looking to secure funding for the Derry project.
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