An undisclosed regeneration group commissioned Grimshaw to create a carbon-neutral building that acts as a greenhouse to house plants and animals.
It could cover 25,000m2 and is designed to derive heat energy from decomposing waste.
The proposal involves 50m-high cylinder walls containing composting tubes.
The development would be heated by solar energy for most of the year.
The scheme is intended to regenerate an area in northern England by boosting tourism and local employment. Grimshaw director Michael Pawlyn said: "We need to create more and more of these buildings to maintain the eco-friendly revolution."