Imagine, in vaults deep underground, a theatre of science like nowhere else; a space in which to explore the importance of biodiversity, the threat of extinction and what it means to be human.
Imagine it located deep in the strata of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, where the Earth Sciences were born and millions of years of life, extinction and evolution are written in the stone.
Imagine an underground cathedral where the ancient art of stone carving and the frontier technologies will breathe life into stories of biodiversity, extinction and evolution.
“Together we will tell the biggest story of all: the evolving story of life. It’s a story four billion years in the making and so far as anyone knows is unique in the universe. According to the world’s biologists, a big chapter is unfolding right now with biodiversity loss worldwide, and with its mines, its cliffs and its mysteries, Portland is an amazingly vivid setting for the telling of it."
- Sebastian Brooke, Director
Eden Portland invites you to explore a subterranean labyrinth - a complex of mine tunnels that will be transformed into an unparalleled immersive space.
The tunnels are cut from the same Portland stone that built St Paul’s and the UN building in New York, whose embedded fossils inspired the first theories of extinction in the 17th century.
Using a provocative, playful and thoughtful fusion of science, art and storytelling the project will focus attention, engage emotions and inspire action. It will be a space for thinkers, scientists, educators and artists to interpret the story of life on Earth.
In doing so, it will explore the profound threats posed to modern biodiversity by the actions of humanity, identify emerging solutions and innovations, and provide hope for a future that is safe, joyful and fulfilling.
The Eden Project
“The eighth wonder of the world”
- New York Times
“Education by visionaries”
- Daily Telegraph
“Best landmark for the 21st Century”
- BA High Life Magazine
Eden Portland is being developed in partnership with Eden Project International Limited (EPIL), part of the Eden Trust.
EPIL’s ambition is to develop a network of new destinations to deliver the Eden mission and social and ecological benefits. Each Eden Project will focus on a unique aspect of our relationship with the natural world.
“This project will be the most innovative, exciting visitor experience in the world. Using light in the darkness, this bold vision of adventure into the underworld will explore life and its interconnections, vanities and fragility with such a theatrical flourish as has never been seen before.”
- Sir Tim Smit, Co-founder of the Eden Project
The Isle of Portland
In 1668, at the dawn of the Enlightenment, Robert Hooke stood on the construction site of the Royal Exchange, inspecting blocks of Portland stone. Hooke - sometimes referred to as ‘London’s Leonardo’ - observed that the blocks were pitted and veined with strange geometries, concluding that these shapes must be the traces of creatures that had once inhabited the Earth, yet had subsequently vanished.
This was the first realisation of extinction, and it was born from Portland stone.
Eden Portland - in a space cut from that same stone - will provide a forum for debate, a space for intellectual and artistic discovery, and a portal to an age of social, economic and ecological regeneration.
“It is our collective ambition... that this should be the catalyst to the creation of educational facilities that will in turn incubate opportunities for the island for years to come.”
- Sir Tim Smit