The Core only opened this summer and has quickly become a favourite with the hundreds of thousands of visitors to Eden. The Core is built to an extraordinary design. Other than the uprights, not one timber is straight in this truly iconic structure. The roof is built to the natural growth blueprint of a flower and took over 1,000 cubic meters of Swiss spruce from sustainable forests to create.
There are 335 major beams and 34 vertical uprights, all finished to the highest degrees of workmanship by master carpenters. The beams required so much “bend” to create the roof that new techniques were devised to essentially glue pieces together, both laterally and longitudinally, to enable the architects to acquire the “bending” necessary for this section of the building.
The roof itself is finished with copper, sourced from the Burgham Canyon mine in Utah and painstakingly fitted together again by local master craftsmen.
The interior is crisp and clean and has several interactive displays as well as film rooms where projectors show the conception, planning, building, and completion of Eden. The centre basically examines the roles that plants play in all our everyday lives, including medicines, fuels, building materials, filters, latex, and, of course, foodstuffs.
Recently, a plan has been devised to install what will be the largest single piece of sculpted stone since the time of the Egyptians as centrepiece to The Core. This stone, in keeping with local tradition, had to be Cornish granite. A suitable piece was found at the De Lank mine near Bodmin, where it took 4 months to cut away from the enveloping terrain with thermic lances. It was finally “released” with dynamite. It’s been estimated that the stone weighs around 170 tonnes and is at least 280 million years old.
A monster 750 tonne crane was brought in to lift the stone free, and work is ongoing as I write, with the sculpture due to take pride of place in 2006, a perfect excuse to return next year, I feel.