Eden Project Dundee

Dundee, Scotland

Expedition is undertaking the structural design for a new Eden Project in Dundee, pioneering an innovative regenerative design process for flourishing project outcomes. The scheme will see the city’s disused gasworks site transformed into a new tourist attraction and educational facility, with the potential to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

The world-class proposal for the former Dundee Gasworks in East Dock Street, Scotland, will set new standards in regenerative design and act as the development catalyst for the wider environmental, social, and economic transformation of the city.  

Connections to the past  

Dundee is one of a number of sites that the Eden Project has selected to host a ‘New Eden’ – schemes that will act as a global response to the planetary emergency, inspired by the original Eden Project in Cornwall. With locations ranging from Morecambe in Lancashire to Qingdao in China, each project is being developed with teams from the different areas, responding to local themes and needs.  

The collaborative design aims to restore the site through a resilient scheme, reinstating biodiversity, and reusing existing materials to create an immersive educational facility. To achieve the project’s sustainable aspirations, we are maximising circular economy principles, both designing for insitu reuse and exsitu reuse.  

The Eden Project brought Expedition on board to work with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios architects in the early phases of the Dundee project, providing structural engineering services for the three main buildings that are proposed for the derelict site.  

The project includes repurposing a vast gas holder to become the main exhibition venue, creating a new pavilion using structural timber, and bringing in recycled elements from buildings demolished elsewhere to construct a ‘circular economy’ venue.    

This approach aligns closely with the Eden Project’s aspirations for bringing back to life the 5ha site of the former Dundee gasworks, reclaiming contaminated land in the heart of the city and transforming it into a place where nature can thrive and communities be built. The site has been largely disused for more than a decade, and only a few buildings remain – the most notable being the 60 m-diameter gas holder that will become the main visitor venue known as the ‘Lush Bunker’.  

In parallel with our structural engineering services, we are championing regenerative design by constantly bringing the focus back to the early choices that can have a knock-on effect on options later in the project lifecycle. For the ‘circular economy’ venue, for example, this might mean safeguarding the grid sizes of the building, to accommodate the type and dimensions of recycled structural elements that are likely to be available.  

For the wooden structure, we researched the local material supply, which is more likely to be sawn or round timber in a limited range of grades and sizes, for which the structure must be designed accordingly. 

Regenerative aspirations 

Building a regenerative future requires a commitment to positive transformation and Dundee aims to show how this shift in perspective can become a reality; considering the city, construction industry, and regenerative design to deliver a legacy that expands on what Eden have already achieved.  

The focus has been not just on developing a masterplan for the site, and exploring options for the main venues, but also on building partnerships for the physical delivery of the scheme. Extending beyond the boundaries of the site, the new proposal draws on the history of Dundee’s Nine Incorporated Trades and Three United Trades. An extensive community co-creation process has also ensured the planning application reflects the values and actions needed for a regenerative future. Horticulture, live music, and food and beverage facilities are also included in the latest plans. 

Embodied Biodiversity Impacts of Construction Materials 

Our spin off research on the ‘Embodied Biodiversity Impacts of Construction Materials’ research was inspired by Expedition’s collaboration with the Eden Project. The research was co-funded by the Institution of Civil Engineers R&D Enabling fund and Useful Simple Trust. This research is an outcome from our regenerative design approach with the wider Dundee design team, in particular making the design process regenerative in itself, enabling thriving outcomes well beyond the project site boundary.  

We published this research in Autumn 2023, and have been disseminating it with the wider industry in an open-source fashion, co-creating next steps to move the industry forward in this important field. 

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