World Trade Centre architect Daniel Libeskind is working on a £75m Eden Project-style scheme in north-west England, it has emerged.
The “rainforest attraction” has been designed as a sequel to the Eden Project in Cornwall, which was developed with a £40m Millennium Commission grant.
The current favourite locations for the project are Blackpool or Liverpool. It is expected to be located within an urban area with a population of 6 million.
The rainforest attraction’s development company, Rainforest Ventures, has been formed by regional development consultant John Woodman and former Eden curator Robin Lock.
Libeskind will not draw up a design until Rainforest Ventures acquires a 4ha site. However, the client’s brief is for a 12,000m2 building that combines a giant greenhouse, a hotel and a visitor centre.
Woodman said: “The rainforest will effectively be a giant atrium to the hotel. The hotel will incorporate conference suites and rooms looking into it.”
Woodman said: “This is a salient factor in our business strategy, as it will draw visitors.”
He also conceives the scheme as a catalyst for urban regeneration.
The project is planned to be self-sufficient in energy. A programme of renewable energy measures is being drawn up by Westland Energy Group.
News of the project emerged as Libeskind’s extension to the Denver Art Museum opened to the public. The titanium-clad, sharply angular building is the centrepiece of a $62.5m (£33.4m) plaza comprising a theatre, museums, restaurants, shops and a residential complex.
This week’s launch of the Rainforest Ventures scheme is the first event of the new Forum for the Built Environment. The networking forum is a relaunch of the 60-year-old Faculty of Building.