The education centre, known as The Core, is the fourth phase of the Eden Project and is a showcase for building in a responsible and sustainable way, in accordance with Grimshaw's Environmentally Viable Architecture audit system.
During the evolution of the design the Grimshaw team collaborated with the sculptor, Peter Randall-Page. Rather than starting with any preconceived ideas about how art should be integrated with the building, it was decided that Peter would be engaged as a consultant with no specific output required.
What emerged was an appreciation of the universal rhythms found in many natural forms. The design for the building was generated from a natural pattern called phyllotaxis, which is the mathematical basis for nearly all plant growth.
Hence the roof structure recalls the arrangement of scales on a pinecone. This naturally occurring rhythm has been resolved into an efficient and elegant timber structure in collaboration with SKM Anthony Hunts. Randall-Page's influence is also evident at the heart of the building, where the sculptor has developed the idea of a massive granite sculpture representing the latent energy found in apparently inanimate seeds.
The Core is shaped around this remarkable piece of work that has been designed and realised specifically for its location.