Set to be “the biggest greenhouse in human history”, a 150,000 square metre botanical garden has been proposed by EASTERN Design Office. The Over the Valley proposal depicts a spectacular, glass-topped "utopia" that will encompass a valley in the Hebei Province, China, transforming the area into a thriving tourist destination.
The valley is surrounded by mountains that reach up to 310 metres high, which are the centre of a scheme to transform the area into a “Utopia” with several zones: a service zone with exhibition halls and hotels; a recreation zone located in an ecosphere in the mountains surrounded by the natural rivers; a cultural zone, which will introduce various cultural groups to China; a commercial zone with a sport area by the lakeside; and a residential zone filled with villas and retail. In the centre of these new precincts is the 15-hectare valley.
Kyoto-based EASTERN Design Office’s masterplan will see the valley transformed into a renowned tourist destination by transforming the entire space into a colossal greenhouse that will feature plants brought in from China’s Hainan Island. The team have described the extensive undertaking of the project as an “adventure”.
EASTERN Design Office has used the topography of the valley to guide the design of the glass roof, allowing for it to flow and undulate in response to the flow of the landscape. The greenhouse roof will be divided into eight parts, an allusion to Chinese rice terrace fields. areas for tourists to wander through and admire the spectacular plants.
The interior structure will be arranged like a large forest with spectacular, far-reaching columns, and a one-directional beam string system to support the roof. This system allows for a perfectly clear, unobstructed view of the sky above while blocking out direct sunlight. “It is very costly to use scaffolds to build large roofs at this vast site,” explained the architects. “Therefore, they are built on the ground and lifted up. This construction method is called the ‘the pantadome system’ – we are the only ones in the world to utilise this structural method.”
The spectacular greenhouse will feature sweeping bridges, waterfalls that flow into lakes and rivers, and an undulating landscape, bedecked with stunning flora. The architects even envision that recreational activities could take place, such as hot air balloon rides!