The Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve visitor centre, Kent | Центр для посетителей природного парка, Великобритания

Competition, 2017

The Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve is an artificial environment and clearly demonstrates the processes of change and progression acting upon a utilitarian landscape and infrastructure: although beautiful it is not a picturesque arcadia. Our instinct is that the intensity of experience and latent character of this very particular site should be retained and reflected in the architecture and landscape. There is an opportunity to create something robust and pregnant with an expressive utility of uncliched sustainability. Confidently adding another bold element to the site and embracing the fact that, like all infrastructure, it will need to change.

The primary language of the building is formed by a series of 'off-the-shelf', vaulted portal frame bridge elements that allow large, clear spans in an efficient and dramatic way. These are poised above cruciform 'service core' elements that organize the building. A palette of standardized materials and components are arranged to generate a sense of utility and agency throughout the generous public rooms in a manner that is also highly sustainable and cost effective. The drama and delight of the building is the narrow and taut footprint and the way it contrasts with the tall generous rooms flooded with natural light and views.

Site plan

The building sits in a deliberately unfinished landscape

Axonometric showing spatial arrangement

Schematic section through the enfilade of public rooms

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