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Eden Project

Product analysis: the Eden Project biomes

The market
The Eden Project attracts visitors of all ages, from all around the world.

Technical specification
The biomes are essentially huge greenhouses.

The Humid Tropics Biome is 240m long, 55m high and 110m across at its widest point. Its overall area is 15,590m2 (1.55 hectares). The natural environment of a tropical rainforest is recreated inside. Temperature varies between 1835C. Humidity ranges from 60% in the day, when there are visitors, to 90% at night.

The Warm Temperate Biome is 135m long, 35m high and 65m wide. Its overall area is 6,540m2 (0.65 hectares). A Mediterranean climate is recreated inside, characterised by hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Temperature varies from 1025C.

There is also a roofless biome an open area with varied plant life from the temperate Cornwall area, as well as similar climates in Chile, the Himalayas, Asia and Australia.

The biomes contain over 5,000 species of plants.

Product function
Climate in the biomes is maintained by having good insulation to conserve heat. The biomes are like lean-to greenhouses, with a back wall (natural rock) that acts as a heat sink, absorbing heat in the day and giving it off at night. There is also a combined heat and power unit to heat the biomes as necessary. The plants themselves help to control the climate. Overhead water sprays simulate rainstorms in certain areas: a waterfall in the Humid Tropics Biome helps to maintain high humidity.

The biomes are used as:

The geodesic structures are made from steel. The panels are made from ethyltetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), a hi-tech transparent foil.

Once the basic concept of interlocking geodesic domes and their overall sizes had been decided, the detailed designing was done using 3D computer modelling. The design was fed directly to the machine shop, where an automated production line computer controlled the accurate machining of all the components to exact size and specification. The same plant fabricated the nodes (drilled steel balls) used to join the sections together.

The components arrived on site in flat packs, each labelled to show exactly where it needed to go and to what it would be joined. The worlds largest scaffolding structure was needed to erect the biomes 125m across and nearly 60m high, using about 100,000 poles.

The Eden Project was built following high standards of safety from the start. It has very clear safety procedures for visitors, for example school parties.

The Eden Project is unquestionably one of the most visually stunning, beautiful creations of the 20th century. Its size is breathtaking, and form and function interact in a harmonious whole.

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