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New exhibition designed by the Eden Project opens as part of Expo 2020 Dubai

A groundbreaking new visitor experience co-designed by the Eden Project International team opens to the public today (Friday October 1, 2021) as part of Expo 2020 Dubai.


Expo Sustainability Pavilion drone shot


Terra, The Sustainability Pavilion, one of the centrepieces of what is billed as the “World’s Greatest Show”, is the first Eden-designed experience to open to the public outside the project’s home in Cornwall, UK. It is the first open example of Eden’s global ambition to create projects on every habitable continent.

The Eden Project International team has co-led the landscape design and visitor experience for the pavilion, alongside its partners on the development Grimshaw, Thinc Design and the Expo 2020 Dubai team.

The pavilion will showcase the Eden ethos to an estimated 25 million visitors during the Expo's 182-day duration, delayed by a year because of the global pandemic.

Terra is a demonstration of cutting-edge technology and innovative landscaping, providing an extraordinary adventure that explores our individual and collective responsibilities as citizens on a changing planet.

Visitors to the pavilion will be taken on a journey telling the enchanting story of humankind’s relationship with nature and our impact on it. The experience is designed to empower visitors to understand the effects of their actions and become agents of change.

Sited in a prominent location, the Pavilion structure works in tandem with the landscape and gardens and incorporates sustainable technologies and innovations. This includes the rotating Energy Trees which support PV arrays which provide energy and shade, the reuse and recycling of water from various sources and Water Trees which enable a passive method of dew harvesting.

Like all Eden Project experiences, Terra takes visitors on a journey which brings them closer to the natural world. They will embark on a journey under a forest, exploring the fascinating "wood-wide web", an intricate collaboration and communication network between plants and fungi.

They will dive into the depths of the world's oceans, experiencing the mysterious sounds and eerie bioluminescent glows of the creatures that live there.

And they will be shown the effects of human activity on the rest of the natural world, from the changing ecology of the Arabian peninsula in Terra's wadi, or dry riverbed, to the "sea of consumption", a dramatisation of the effect human activity has had on the world's oceans. The centrepiece here is a giant angler fish, its mouth choked with plastic pollution and TVs showing advertising on a loop.

Visitors will be asked questions about the choices they make, the "What Would You Save?" exhibit asking what valued possessions would be retrieved from a burning or flooding house and the "Archive of Three Things" showing the choices of people from around the world. The exhibit highlights the importance of family, community and memory over consumer goods, giving rise to the question of why we damage the environment with our consumption.

As part of legacy plans, the building will remain at District 2020 - the new city which will evolve from the Expo site - as a centre for children to engage with science, educating and inspiring generations to come.

Terra is the first Eden Project-designed content outside Cornwall to open to the public and is at the vanguard of an Eden Project international programme that will see new Edens built in Morecambe in Lancashire, Qingdao in China, Dundee in Scotland, Anglesea in Australia, Derry~Londonderry in Northern Ireland and Christchurch in New Zealand among others.

Sir Tim Smit, Co-Founder of the Eden Project, said: “Eden is immensely proud to have been offered the opportunity to create marvellous things inside Terra with the genius designer Tom Hennes of Thinc Design. We knew it would have to be brave and startling to capture the imagination of people from all over the world coming to be inspired and entertained.

“The Expo team deserve huge credit for encouraging the creatives to go for their shots, raising emotionally interesting and challenging questions and ultimately asking all of us: how would we like to be remembered one hundred years from now?

“In our view, this is the world’s first rock’n’roll science centre. Congratulations to all. We loved working on it and we look forward to this being just the start of something very special indeed.”

David Harland, Chief Executive of Eden Project International, said: “This is another big moment in Eden’s history, and we are so pleased to see this collaboration realising the first Eden-designed content outside the UK and the first pin in the map for our international ambitions. We have loved working with so many creative and talented partners on this project, particularly our friends in the UAE, and we really hope visitors to the Expo enjoy visiting Terra.

“We are continuing to make progress on our other international projects and we hope soon that we will be able to confirm funding for Eden Project North in Morecambe in Lancashire. We are also under construction in Qingdao in China and are working hard to make our other global projects a reality. We are very excited about the next few years!”

Expo 2020 Dubai is the first Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia and is the latest in a 170 year history of World Expos, which began with The Great Exhibition in London in 1851. Expos bring countries together to celebrate national achievement and provide a platform for innovation and global cooperation.

Expo 2020 Dubai boasts more than 190 country pavilions alongside special Expo-owned pavilions which will act as centrepieces for each district of the Expo - Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity.

Expos have left a lasting mark on their host nations and cities, with the Eiffel Tower in Paris being built for 1889's Exposition Universelle and since becoming a defining landmark of the city.

Other iconic Expo buildings include the Space Needle in Seattle, built for the 1962 Century 21 Exposition, and the world's first Ferris wheel was built for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

The Expo 2020 Dubai site will live long after the exhibition finishes in March 2022, as it transitions to District 2020. This sustainable, human-centric smart city will reuse at least 80 per cent of the infrastructure built for Expo, including LEED Gold and Platinum-certified buildings. As it transforms into an integrated mixed-use community, it will carry on and fulfil Expo's founding vision to be an ecosystem to connect, create and innovate.