Tim Smit (born 1954) is a Netherlands-born British businessman, famous for his work on the 'Lost Gardens of Heligan' and the Eden Project, both in Cornwall, England.
Born in Scheveningen, he was educated at Cranbrook School, Kent, in England, and studied archaeology and anthropology at Durham. He worked as an archaeologist before taking an unexpected leap into the music business, working as both a song-writer and producer receiving seven platinum and gold discs. Contrary to many reports he was not a 'millionaire record producer'. He had modest success in Europe with an album called 'Midnight Blue - a Project with Louise Tucker'. Other than that, he was jobbing record producer / songwriter / arranger.
In 1987 he moved with his family to Cornwall and became involved with Rob Poole, John Nelson and Heligan. During his time at Heligan, Smit wrote a popular book about the project.
Later he started the Eden Project, near St Austell, an £80 million initiative to build three transparent biomes in an old china clay pit. The biomes contain different eco-climates loosely based on the different climates found throughout the world - tropical jungle, temperate, and desert. Eden professes to educate people about environmental matters and encourages a greater understanding and empathy with these matters. Smit was mainly involved in raising the needed funds; the site design was by Nicholas Grimshaw.
He was awarded the CBE in the 2002 New Years Honours List, and in 2006 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Design degree by the University of the West of England "in recognition of his outstanding achievements in promoting the understanding and practise of the responsible management of the vital relationship between plants, people and resources, which have made a major contribution regionally, nationally and internationally to sustainable development, tourism, architecture and landscape architecture".
'With passion and commitment thousands of 'small' people built Eden as a symbol of hope in action...We may all have feet of clay, but that shouldn't stop us trying to make a difference...We say, 'Demand the impossible . So said Tim Smit and thus was the impossible delivered: a living theatre of plants and people and their interdependence, housed in a disused china clay pit and featuring the world's largest greenhouses. Since Eden opened in 2001, well over ten million visitors have made their way to Eden, drawn by the astonishing, visionary ambition of its founders, the everchanging horticulture and new developments on-site. More have discovered it as an extraordinary music venue, attending Eden's sessions. But Eden is far more than a visitor attraction. It has mutated into an organisation with projects and partnerships all over the world concerned with rehabilitation (physical and social), community education, biodiversity, sustainable construction, green employment and town planning. Marking the 10th anniversary, this edition is the extraordinary, fully updated story of Eden complete with stunning new photographs.
Appeared on “Hay-on-Sky” 23 May. The Eden Project is a stunning structure in Cornwall. This book is the story of how passion and the efforts of thousands of people created something amazing.
Updated, with stunning new photographs At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the impossible was delivered. From the sterile depths of a disused china clay pit in Cornwall rose one of the most remarkable and ambitious ventures in recent memory. The Eden Project's Biomes, the world's largest conservatories, are the symbol of a living theatre of plants and people and their interdependence, of regeneration and of a pioneering forum for the exploration of possible futures. This is the extraordinary story of the Eden Project, of its conception, design and construction, of the larger-than-life personalities who made it happen and of all that has happened since its doors were first opened to the public in 2001. It is now undisputedly one of the world's great gardens with more than 17 million visitors flocking there and projects and partnerships all over the world.
The glorious No.1 bestseller Until the First World War, the estate gardens at Heligan were one of the glories of Cornwall. Thereafter, through growing neglect, they slipped gradually to sleep. This is the amazing story of their rediscovery and restoration, or the Victorian vision and ingenuity which first created that subtropical paradise, and of the modern obsession and improvisation which recreated it.
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