Eden Project Foyle by Grimshaw for Northern Ireland

Grimshaw releases visuals of Eden Project Foyle with thatched centrepiece

Grimshaw, the studio behind the Eden Project in Cornwall, has designed an ecological resort in Northern Ireland that will feature a thatched play area and treetop walkways.

Commissioned by environmental charity Eden Project International, the Eden Project Foyle will be built on a 100-hectare site on the bank of the River Foyle in Derry that is currently inaccessible.

It will contain a mix of nature-focused attractions designed by Grimshaw, and centre around The Acorn – a giant play area made of thatch and timber.

"Our partnership with Eden Project continues with the plan for Eden Project Foyle," revealed Grimshaw in an Instagram post.

"A proposed park made for the 21st century with a series of attractions across the site, linked by a riverside walk and treetop walkways, to provide a destination in Derry to attract visitors from all over the world."

Eden Project Foyle by Grimshaw for Northern Ireland

Eden Project Foyle is set for completion by 2023, and will be developed by Grimshaw and Eden Project International in collaboration with local charity Foyle River Gardens.

It forms part of the Eden Project's large-scale expansion plans that also include a marine-focused outpost in Lancashire and several ecological tourist attractions in China, including a resort in Qingdao with the world's largest indoor waterfall, which will all be designed by Grimshaw.

Once complete, the Northern Ireland outpost will contain a number of sanctuaries and enclosures, alongside gardens for local produce and nature-based play areas.

All of these facilities will be linked by a playful landscape of tree-top walkways, rope bridges, slides, zip-wires and pathways that extend down into the river.

Eden Project Foyle by Grimshaw for Northern Ireland

Its centrepiece, The Acorn, will be built using timber and thatch to evoke Neolithic architecture – structures used as housing and shelters from 10,000 to 2,000 BC.

This is hoped to ensure that the building is light and low-carbon, reflecting Eden Project International's main ambition to help create a sustainable future.

Eden Project International is now looking to secure funding for the project. As part of the scheme, it will also renovate two inaccessible riverside estates on the site and open them to the public for the first time.

The project is hoped to mirror the impact as the original Eden Project in Cornwall and generate 62 million pounds for the regional economy annually by welcoming 400,000 visitors each year.

Grimshaw's original Eden Project is one of numerous high-tech buildings designed by the studio. Studio founder Nicholas Grimshaw was profiled as part of our recent high-tech architecture series.