At the National Ecology Center in Seocheon, South Korea, visitors will soon be able to walk through more than 35,000 square feet of greenhouses mimicking the world’s most diverse ecosystems.
Called the Ecorium, and designed by Grimshaw Architects with S.A.M.O.O., this visitor’s center will consist of five enclosed biomes–or ecosystems–each with flora and fauna from different climate zones: tropical rainforest, cloud forest, dry tropics, cool temperate, and Antarctic. The curvy design for the structure also takes its cue from nature and is based on the crescent shape of an oxbow lake, a body of water that forms as a meandering river changes course.
Since this will be a center for ecological research and exploration, it was vital that the design be as energy efficient as possible. A “lightweight glazing system” on the glass domes of each biome structure maximizes the natural light inside, which fosters “vigorous plant growth and eliminates the need for supplemental electrical lighting,” according to the project brief from Grimshaw.
“As a base of ecological research, experience-centered education, and lively exhibition, Ecorium of the National Ecological Institute will become a green landmark leading the low-carbon green society,” according to the architects at S.A.M.O.O., who worked with Grimshaw on the project.
The Korea Herald reports that the Ecorium will be fully open to the public by next spring.
[Photos © Park Young Chae, courtesy of Grimshaw Architects]