The biggest greenhouse in the world was two weeks away from opening its doors

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Welcome to the jungle

This week in 2001, the biggest greenhouse in the world was two weeks away from opening its doors to the public.

Previously a hole in the ground used as a working china clay pit, the space was seen by Dutch-born British businessman Tim Smit as a possible home for showcasing the world’s most important plants. With architectural practice Grimshaw behind the idea, it quickly became the most eagerly anticipated construction project of the year. Building reporter Gus Alexander headed over to Cornwall to explore the “jungle in a bubble.”

He said: “If you want to be happy for a day, get drunk. If you want to be happy for a week, take a mistress. If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, make yourself a garden. The ancient sage who offered this advice was probably thinking of a perfumed bower in a balmy Mesopotamian plateau. If he’d been living in grey, rain-splattered England, no doubt he would have specified that you plant it indoors. In which case, he would have been delighted with the £75m Eden Project, the ultimate indoor botanic wonderland, which opens to the public two weeks tomorrow.”

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