In what will surely become a mecca of sorts for globe-trotting fans of mid-'90s stoner comedy Biodome (and O.K., maybe a few nature enthusiasts), South Korea is on track to open the nature center to end all nature centers, with five enclosed greenhouses recreating some of the world's most diverse climates: tropical rainforest, cloud forest, dry tropics, cool temperate, and Antarctic. Seocheon's National Ecology Center, more memorably known as the Ecorium, was designed by London-based Grimshaw Architects in conjunction with S.A.M.O.O., the South Korean firm responsible for this huge library that looks like a turned page. Providing more evidence for the firm's love for curves, the shape of this multi-part greenhouse was based on what's known as an oxbow lake, a body of water that forms as a river changes direction.
The complex will be surrounded by botanical gardens, and visitors won't have to hold back from "seeing, hearing, smelling and touching flora and fauna," which is a nice selling point. According to Grimshaw, the five biomes were designed as a "continuous series, utilizing climatic zones to emphasize diversity while maintaining the connections between regions present in nature." The domes are outfitted with "lightweight glazing system" that channels natural light, eliminating the need for electrical lighting and cutting down on the place's carbon footprint, which should also do good things for ecosystems that aren't manmade.
- Grimshaw Architects