UK architectural firm Blue Forest, which has a background in the design and construction of luxury treehouses and lodges, has revealed its plans to build a large nest-like treehouse in the Eden Project’s Humid Tropics Biome. Located in Cornwall, UK, the Eden Project is the world’s largest conservatory, and the planned Biodiversity Nest will sit high amidst its treetops as part of a new Rainforest Canopy Walk.
“The design of the Biodiversity Nest Treehouse draws inspiration from the genius of nature’s design,” Blue Forest Director, Simon Payne tells Gizmag. “Its form is based on the elaborately woven nests of the Bowerbird and Weaver bird, which are common across East Africa – where Blue Forest's founder Andy Payne was born.”
The new treetop walk will include a series of pathways which will snake their way through the steamy Rainforest canopy. Visitors will gain access to the unique nature immersion experience via a timber-and-steel framed walkway, and the Biodiversity Nest will lie in the middle of two bridges spanning across 16 meters (52 feet) in both directions.
The Biodiversity Nest will be used as an educational space and has been designed to cater for groups of approximately 20 people. It will be a focal point within Eden's Tropical Biomes, offering visitors a unique view of nature’s biodiversity.
“It is unlike anything we have done before” says Payne. “I love the spiraling helical superstructure and am really pleased with the way the 'feather-like' cladding helps break up the shape of the treehouse so that it blends in with its surroundings.”
In line with the philosophy of the Eden Project, the Blue Forest architects are doing everything possible to ensure the physical structure will be as sustainable as possible.
“The Biodiversity Nest is an interesting technical challenge as we have to provide a spectacular education space which is comfortable for visitors in the Rainforest environment, with a limited choice of materials that can cope with the aggressive environment – temperatures of up to 45 degrees centigrade (113 degrees Fahrenheit), 90 percent relative humidity in the night and 60 percent in the day,” Payne says. “As well as a galvanized steel superstructure, we have been experimenting with heat treated softwoods as a substitute for robust but unsustainable tropical hardwoods, to form the timber enclosure and deck.”
The Eden Project is currently working to raise funds to deliver the design element of the Biodiversity Nest. Once the funding is raised, the project should take approximately 9 to 10 weeks to prefabricate the superstructure of the Nest off site and a further five to six weeks to install. The Humid Tropics Biome will remain open to the public while construction of the Aerial Walkway is underway, with the first phase due for launch this June.
“Tree houses have always been a symbol of imagination and creativity,” concludes Payne. “We are all big kids at heart and I can't wait to walk across the canopy walkway and stand on the platform of the Nest and looking out on the rainforest.”