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Team vows to fight on to create Piano’s £80m Jurassica resort

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The team behind a proposed £80million prehistoric-themed attraction in Dorset designed by Renzo Piano has vowed to fight after failing to win Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF)

The Jurassica backers said they would reapply for the £16 million of funding and had no plans to scale down the massive project.

The prehistoric-themed attraction, earmarked for a former limestone quarry on the Isle of Portland, is the brainchild of science writer Michael Hanlon and aims to provide a new education and tourist focus for the Jurassic Coast.

The ‘ambitious’ scheme, which is backed by Eden Centre mastermind Tim Smit and David Attenborough, will recreate the Jurassic landscape beneath a transparent glass roof supported from the quarry walls.

A spokesperson for the project said: ‘The project is now continuing into development without an HLF development grant.

‘At some point our intention to reapply as we firmly believe the Heritage Lottery is a strong and appropriate partner for such a significant heritage project as Jurassica.

‘There is no desire or need to scale the project down, it is, and we remain, ambitious - that’s part of the attraction.’  

They added: ‘At £16 million, public funds from HLF were always only part of our funding strategy for a project costing some £80 million. We have applied to and will apply to scientific trusts and other grant-giving bodies both in the UK and overseas, and have already attracted financial support from business and HNWI based locally and nationally’.

Jurassica sketch

Source: RPBW

Renzo Piano sketch for the proposed Jurassica attraction in Portland, Dorset.


Michael Hanlon, Jurassica’s chief executive officer on working with Renzo Piano
‘In the early days of Jurassica, I was advised to “find a world-class architect’. After doing this, “all else will become much easier”. A hard ask, as I knew few architects, and certainly none who operated on the world stage. Then, after a series of serendipitous events, I met Renzo.

‘He and his team, especially Jack Carter, with whom I have worked closely on the design, have been extraordinary partners to work with. Warm, friendly, ridiculously talented and hyper-professional this firm has thrown its considerable weight behind the project. From a series of rough, literally back-of-envelope sketches, Renzo Piano Building Workshop has created a vision of beauty and elegance. I cannot imagine a better company to do business with.’


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