Ecorium is an innovative environmental visitor attraction at the National Ecology Center in Seocheon, South Korea. The project, which was secured through a turnkey design and build competition hosted by Korea’s Ministry of the Environment, uses nature as an immersive teaching tool to showcase the world’s diverse ecosystems. Grimshaw was appointed by Samsung Construction and worked alongside Samoo Architects and Engineers.
The project concept is inspired by the form of an oxbow lake, an aquatic body created by the evolving erosion of a meandering river. The masterplan guides the visitor flow through a series of botanical gardens and into Ecorium. Visitors travel through five biomes, seeing, hearing, smelling and touching flora and fauna from the tropical rainforest, cloud forest, dry tropics, cool temperate and Antarctic regions. The enclosures were consciously designed as a continuous series, utilizing climatic zones to emphasize diversity while maintaining the connections between regions present in nature.
Ecorium is completely unique in its physical form and design characteristics and a model of efficient green design in operation. Steel arches delineate the ridgeline of each biome enclosure, supporting a light weight glazing system to maximize the internal daylight level. This practice promotes vigorous plant growth and eliminates the need for supplemental electrical lighting.
With the vision of becoming a hub for education and research on ecology, Ecorium plays an important role in providing opportunities for visitors to have a hands-on experience of various ecological environments around the world and learn the importance of conservation.
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