Interview with David Kirkland

“his remit was to be sustainable but the premise of the design was communicating mans relationship with plants so in terms of sustainability it is about waking up to how we relate to plants and how important they are for humanity. The design team was made up of like minded people so that issues that arose could be dealt effectively.

“like all projects  worldwide this was a commercial project. There were cost involved. The initial project design was for it to be twice the size of what Eden is now , consisting of 4 internal biomes and a 5th running across the perimeter, however this design got pulled back – this was because the client (Tim Smit) wanted something twice as big for half the price, (employing the likes of Grimshaw ) he believed they could achieve this. This is how the Biomes with the tri-hex-tri space frame was brought about by using a shape that maximised volume with little materials and little transportation cost   ”

“if you want to work on holistic sustainable design you have to align yourself with how nature works. Nature works with an evolution process so instead of fighting change you adapt. where a lot of use architects have a vision of how we think something should be at the beginning and try to hold on to it as much as possible, however this is not a sustainable design. So when it came to the design process, we have a lot of problems with nature conflicting with what we wanted to do. So we use this to manipulate our project ”

“the millennium fund on gave out money when they were presented with a water tight business plan. In order to get that you need to be at stage D (design development). For the design to be at this stage it needed to collaboration with the entire design team with Tim Smit. The problem was is that the client had no money to pay the design teams until the he receive the millennium funding. The additional challenge was that when the designs were going ahead the client did not own the land. The way around this was to buy little chunks of the land off of the miners and start building on that, however ongoing works as the mine meant the pit continuously changed and thus the design changed.

“due to the continuously changes it emerged that they need a flexible building that could be adjust on site to meet the ground”

“like pushing balls into the ground. Wherever they hit the ground that’s where they finish. if the ground changes you just subtract bits of the ball, but the ball doesn’t move. This way 80% of the building is always fixed.”

Legibility of a building is very important, there an advantage if a building can tell a story. Similar to medieval cathedrals where people were illiterate and could read bibles so the stories are in the buidling. For our age we should have building that are legible and in our case we wanted to convey how man relates the natural world. When you enter the visitors centre there is rammed earth. According to McAlpine , we wouldn’t be able to used rammed earth because it was too complicated so standard building material should be used. But if we talk about regeneration and bring back the history of an industrial waste land and using clay from the site, we manage to convince mcapline to do it.


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