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How We Built Britain

You are in: Cornwall > How We Built Britain > The Core At Eden

The Core at Eden - Pic: Nick Gregory

The Core - new home for the sculpture

The Core At Eden

The Core is one of the most sustainable buildings in the world, having been designed on nature's architecture, with every effort put into minimising its impact on the environment during its construction and in its future use.

The design of The Core, Eden's education centre, is based on how plants grow. It  incorporates a central trunk and canopy roof that shades the ground and harvests the sun.

The most striking feature - the roof created from an intricate web of curved timber beams - is based on Fibonacci spirals, a pattern found in many natural forms including the seeds of a sunflower head, pine cones and snail shells.

The Core and biomes at Eden

The Core has taken two years to construct at a cost of £15 million. Major sponsors are the Millennium Commission (£10.5 million), South West Regional Development Agency (£2.9 million) and Objective One (£1 million), with the balance coming from a number of smaller contributors.

It has been designed and built by many of the same team who delivered the Humid Tropics and Warm Temperate Biomes.

Innovative features incorporated into the new education centre building include:

Water saving measures

• Rainwater is collected and used to flush the loos.
• Automatic taps save water (by turning themselves off). 
• Roof runoff is filtered through limestone to remove any copper runoff.

Reducing CO2 emissions by reducing fuel needs

The Eden sustainability team worked closely with Buro Happold, the mechanical and electrical consultants to reduce the building's energy needs and modelled then installing the most effective heat and power options. Other measures include:

• Using photovoltaic panels on the roof of The Core to provide electricity
• Insulating the building well, including insulating the walls Warmcel, made from 100 per cent recycled newspapers
• Warming the air via ground tubes before it enters the building
• A lobby was installed to reduce heat loss from the building.
• Buying into green tariff electricity for extra needs

Exhibition - Pic: Nick Gregory

An exhibition in The Core

The Roof

The Core roof was made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified Red Spruce (Picea rubens) from Swiss sustainable forests. The beams for the roof are constructed using a technique known as Glulam (glue-laminated timber which is made from bonded, selected, planed layers of timber of parallel running grain). Glulam is incredibly versatile and is one of the strongest structural materials per unit of weight… and it generates no waste because its offcuts are used as a fuel.

The Copper Roof

The Eden sustainability team worked closely with its partners at international minerals company Rio Tinto and sourced the copper which covers The Core's roof from a single US mine: Kennecott Utah Copper Company’s Bingham Canyon mine, which has amongst the highest environmental and social standards of any copper mine in the world.


The ethos behind The Core was education for everyone – from ages of three to 103 – carried out in a way that is amusing, challenging, engaging and curiosity provoking.

The new £15 million centre acts like a web which ties all Eden's strands together,  supporting school work and nurturing minds, and at the same time reaching out to visitors of all ages.

BBC Television

Building Britain, presented by Dick Strawbridge will visit the education centre at Eden to find out more about how it was built. The programme can be seen on BBC1 on 18 June at 22.35. 

last updated: 21/06/07

You are in: Cornwall > How We Built Britain > The Core At Eden

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