Grimshaw and Samoo create eco experience in Korea

Visitors will be able to wander from tropical rainforest, through cloud forest and into the Antarctic
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Ecorium, The National Ecology Centre, Seocheon - Grimshaw in collaboration with Samoo
Ecorium, The National Ecology Centre, Seocheon - Grimshaw in collaboration with Samoo

Just over a decade ago, Nicholas Grimshaw became near-enough a household name with the opening of the amazing Eden Project in the south-west of England. The massive, biospherical green-house-cum-visitor attraction is still going strong, but now Grimshaw has outdone his own masterpiece, with another eco-scheme, this time in South Korea.

The National Ecology Centre in Seocheon – or Ecorium, as it will be known - will comprise 35,000 square feet of greenhouses which will house the world's most diverse ecosystems. Each ecosystem will take up home in a different enclosed ‘biome’, with the appropriate flora and fauna to match.

So come next year, visitors will be able to wander from tropical rainforest, through cloud forest, into the dry tropics, cool temperate, and the Antarctic. And as well as seeing, hearing, smelling all that’s around them, visitors will be encouraged to touch. Grimshaw got lucky in his local partners, he’s been collaborating with Samoo, accomplished architects with offices all over the place, who were authors of the quirkily low-slung National Library of Sejong City.

 

Ecorium, The National Ecology Centre, Seocheon - Grimshaw in collaboration with Samoo
Ecorium, The National Ecology Centre, Seocheon - Grimshaw in collaboration with Samoo

Between them, they’ve based the scheme on an ox-bow lake, and have made it as energy efficient as possible. This, after all, is not just a visitor attraction, but also a centre for ecological research and exploration. “Steel arches delineate the ridgeline of each biome enclosure, supporting a lightweight glazing system to maximise the internal daylight level,” Grimshaw explains. “This practice promotes vigorous plant growth and eliminates the need for supplemental electrical lighting.”

For Samoo, the Ecorium is about reflecting “the ecosystem of the earth that unfurls the grand epic of nature”, and their hope is that it will become “a green landmark leading the low carbon green society”.

 

Ecorium, The National Ecology Centre, Seocheon - Grimshaw in collaboration with Samoo
Ecorium, The National Ecology Centre, Seocheon - Grimshaw in collaboration with Samoo

In our book Vitamin Green you'll find a lot more examples of green and sustainable thinking from living walls by Jean Nouvel to Brazilian eco parks by Arquitetos Associados. Projects nominated by an international collection of designers, curators, critics and thinkers were selected to create the best possible sourcebook of the most exciting and original green designs at all scales, from eyeglasses to landscapes and from motorcycles to skyscrapers. The result is an inspirational survey of the enormous amount of innovative work being done in the field, as well as a directory of products, ideas and techniques for both designers and consumers. You can learn more about and Buy Vitamin Green from the people who made it.


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