Grimshaw Architects, the London firm behind bubble-shaped ecological park the Eden Project, has signed a £100 million deal to design a similar scheme named China Eden in Qingdao.
UK education and environmental charity The Eden Project has teamed up with Chinese developer Jinmao Holdings Limited and Grimshaw Architects to design and develop a second Eden Project.
Eden China will sit on the convergence of two rivers near Qingdao, on a piece of reclaimed land that has been ravaged by salt production and prawn farming.
The original Eden Project by Grimshaw Architects opened in 2001 in a former clay pit in Cornwall. Eight giant geodesic domes – or biomes – enclose a swathe of the 2.2 hectare site, creating a temperature-controlled environment for a vast collection of plants described as the "largest rainforest in captivity."
A spokesperson from Grimshaw Architects confirmed that a deal has just been signed but the design and scope of the project are still being determined.
"Grimshaw are delighted to continue our long relationship with Eden Project," Grimshaw partner Jolyon Brewis told Dezeen. "We are excited about this opportunity to develop the themes of Eden in Cornwall, and create the design for an entirely new destination in Qingdao."
The new design is unlikely to replicate the bubble-like forms of Grimshaw's Cornwall scheme, but the project aims to have a similar impact on the region's tourism. The British scheme has brought over 16 million visitors to Cornwall since its opening in 2001 and generated £1.6 billion for the local economy.
"We have been approached many times before to create Eden projects, but have always declined as we did not wish to copy Eden in Cornwall," said Eden Project co-founder Tim Smit.
"This opportunity is exciting because our partners share our view that we should build a project that builds on 4,000 years of Chinese relations with the environment and Eden's fresh approach to education."
Over 63 million visitors are attracted to the area around Qingdao each year in part for its expansive beaches and the horticultural shows held at purpose-built venues including an aluminium-clad pavilion modelled on a flower by Dutch firm UNStudio and sprawling wetland structures by HHD_FUN.
The China Eden project comes to the city, located on China's eastern coast midway between Shanghai and Beijing, at a time of significant redevelopment.
Steven Holl is currently designing a complex of four museums, while a series of pint-glass-shaped tower blocks by RTA-Office are to provide new offices, apartments and leisure facilities for the city.
"The stunning location for China Eden has stupendous views of the whole city," said a statement from the charity. "The project fits perfectly with Eden's key transformation and regeneration themes and will bring life to a currently sterile and derelict site."
Grimshaw Architects – which has also designed a ecological park in South Korea where tropical plants, waterfalls and penguins are housed within huge glass and steel biomes – recently unveiled designs for a golden petal-shaped canopy over the entrance to Euston Station in London.
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