pg 33 – In the early hours of a may morning in 1994 … we had a concept…. [a project] that focused on celebrating the floristic riches and the productivity of the planet, with a nod towards conservation.

pg 75 – So, it was game on and every game needs a name … I like the word Project. It’s got dynamism, direction and a sense of evolution about it.

pg 77 – I use the word ‘concept’ deliberately.  The problem with innovation is that if something has never been done before there isn’t a precedent for cost.

pg 81 – The environmental Engineers were ove arup and partners, their team leader would be Alistair Guthrie.

pg 87-88 – David Kirkland and Andrew Whalley had developed a concept, looking vaguely gynaecological and loosely referential in style to the design of the waterloo international terminal, with ribs curving from the bottom to the top of the pit.

pg 105 – Before putting in our planning application we had begun an environmental impact assessment, funded by Europe and English Partnerships. This was a monumental piece of work which covered all the environmental aspects of the pit itself and also concerned itself with the proposed access routes and the impact would have on the area

pg 105 – So the pit was given the third degree. We knew every bird, bat,badger,fox,field mouse and dragon fly by name. we knew the geological make-up of the soile and the core of the pit itself..

pg 106 – Architects back in london were in despair because every week the pit changed shape, making their work insufferably difficult. They had never ever worked in conditions like this before.

pg 110 – The most virulent protestors were the least expected: The Green Party. We would have thought that a project providing an international focus on many of the issues dear to their heart would have won their grudging support. They chose to be purist. A littany of evil was laid before the public  Our roofing foil was poisonous (It isn’t, It’s in fact biodegradable); we were going to employ german labour (why?) ; we were going to research genetically modified crops (we weren’t) we would chop down ancient trees to make our new road prime farmland (we didn’t and it wasn’t)

pg 120- Taking the area of the pit and the depth of the soil required to give plants a chance of establishing themselves, gives you a figure of around 90,000 tonnes. Thats a lot of lorries. we would need at least 3,000 lorry loads.

pg 121- We then meet the water problem. Drainage in pits is always an issue. They become huge sumps for all the local springs, and require pumping out. Plants need water and in controlled environment it has to be clean. It mustn’t be thick with sediment or it will pollute the new soil, leave a residue on the leaves and clog up the fine nozzles of the spraying system

pg 121-122- Another worry is that water lying still within an irrigation or air-conditioning system is breeding ground for bacteria, including the notorious legionnaires disease.

pg 124- We intended to represent and interpret climate zones which exhibited the maximum impact of man on the environment, thus providing a canvas on certain habitats to inform and entertain the public about human dependence on plants, and in so doing create a predisposition to effect or support positive changes in the way we live.


pg 130 – Sir Ralph Riley [A Trustee] was … trying to help … develop relationships with some of the international organizations with which he was involved, most notably the food and agriculture organizations and the international food policy research institute. Ralph was Passionate in this belief that Eden was important because it sought to bring together environmental activist, conservationist and agribusiness in the search for solutions.

pg 133 – Eden wasnt a project, it was a place in the heart.


pg 171 – [in reference to the early design- The wind-tunnel test demonstrated that the ribs would move beyond a safe range of tolerance. Oddly, the reason for this was not the direct effect of wind hitting the structure, but rather the suction effect of wind passing over the top of the pit

pg 178 – In January Alone, 43 million gallons of water poured into the pit. The pumps were working at full capacity and barely coping. Every Cliff face seemed to have springs spouting out of it, and we faced the unthinkable. WOrk stopped for ten weeks; machines up to their hunkers in mud could do nothing.

pg 183 – [Finding a material “ETFE” was a challenge ] find a material that was both light wieght and extremely light-permeable to create the ideal growing conditions for the plants.

burgers zoo arnhem etfe

burgers zoo arnhem etfe

pg 189 – All the water in the pit had to be managed. The rainwater runoff from the roofs of the giant conservatories would be collected and decanted, just as the victorians used to do it, into yet more tanks. Its purity was highly prized for plant irrigation. This would become a sealed system to ensure that no impurities could clog up the fine sprayers of the misting units once the conservatories were operational.

pg 193 – Of all the crafts exhibited at Eden perhaps the rammed earth walling of the Visitors Centre caught the public imagination. Keable, a zimbabwean, masterminded the construction oft he wall. His team erected facing pairs of shutters, scooping up local earth and filling the space between them, tamping it down just the right amount of moisture for it to bond together.

pg 194 – [foundation problems] That is what clay does [when load is lightened due to excavation] In its expansive mood it creates gaps often deep underground that fill with water.

pg 195 – they poured thousand tons of waste granite into the ground.

pg 195- Through this material they inserted a grid of porous vertical drains penetrating up to 30 metres deep into the ground below. As the weight of the embankment bore down on the clay, water would bubble into the drains and rise to the surface. The embankment material was also pretty wet, and had horizontal drains inserted through it to dry it out as quickly as possible. On top of this in box section, were built the reinforced concrete foundations, the ring beam, on to which the superstructure would be laster be fixed. Then large hollow steel rods called ground anchors were inserted both foundation and embankment, their ends fitted with spring-loaded fixing spikes to secure them to the bottom of the structure. Grouting material was then forced under high pressure down the tubes to solidify the embankment.

pg 197-198 – [Problem] we wanted to buy British steel but the fabrication skills were just not available in this country. In fact there appeared to be only one company company capable of doing the intricate work that we need: mero, in bavaria. We would eventually buy British steel, but it had to go to four other countries to processed before finally arriving back in the uk.

[mero decided to take over the foil [etfe] companies as they saw problems would arise between the communication between companies]

pg 200 – They also had to fit around the ground level vents and the emergency access doors, not to mention the air flues, looking like giant exhaust pipes, that entered the biomes at regular intervals. These came from the air handling units (AHUs) whose task it was to heat the air in the biomes or conversely to pump cooler air in to create airflows.

pg 230 – [first year of opening] the year had two social high spots. the first was Eden’s role as the south wests focus for the bbc children in need appeal, which attracted thousands to share the evening with us.

pg 262 – If Eden Aspires to become at one level a mission control for an environmental United Nations, as well as a purveyor of fabulous horticulture and the steward of a wonderful destination for public entertainment, the fuel that drives it must come from an understanding of the distinction between quality of life and the standard of living

pg 263 – Eden’s evolution has depended, and will continue to depend, on encouraging people of many disciplines, background and political persuasions to work together towards a common goal.. there has to be a vision that drives the desire. Attractive as alternative lifestyles and holistic approaches to life may appear to the individual or small community of like minded souls, a future must be built which addresses the major issues that affect he bulk of the world’s population.

pg 267 – At Eden we are committed to trying to walk the talk of sustainability as far as we can, but we are determined to avoid superficial ‘ greening’ of the site.


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