Rainforest Biome of Eden Project in Cornwall, United Kingdom

Customer Project

Structural Engineering MERO-TSK International GmbH & Co. KG
Würzburg, Germany
Architect Grimshaw Architects
London, UK
Construction Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd
Hertfordshire, UK
Investor Eden Project Ltd
Cornwall, UK

Length: 179.95 m | Width: 130.80 m | Height: 62.45 m | Weight: 343.2 t
Nodes: 2,525 | Members: 7,545 | Materials: 2 | Cross-Sections: 49

The Eden Project in Cornwall, United Kingdom, is a complex of two huge biome buildings consisting of several domes and outdoor gardens. Inside the biomes, there are plants of several thousands species collected from many diverse climates and environments which serves for biological studies and exhibitions.

The Rainforest Biome was built in the second phase of The Eden Project’s development. It is kept at a tropical temperature and moisture level and covers over 1,000 varieties of tropical plants.

The original vision of the project came from the anthropologist and archaeologist Tim Smit.

The architectural design was done by Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners from London, after preliminary structural design by MERO.


The biome structure is a hex‑tri‑hex space frame with two layers. The frame structure consists of steel tube segments that were connected together by using bolted joints. The steel structure has a shape of intersecting spheres.

The external cladding panels have the hexagonal and pentagonal shape and consist of inflated membrane cushions made of three layers of ETFE foil which maximize the ultraviolet from the sunlight needed by the plants.

Structural Analysis

The structure was created in CAD and imported into the structural engineering software RSTAB.

Load cases and result combinations comply with the British standard BS 5950. The building was designed according to the second‑order analysis.

Program Used for Structural Analysis

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