Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve is a pioneering nature reserve with roughly equal proportions of lakes and woodland. The visitor centre required a new space to promote learning about the reserve and its wildlife; wellbeing through a heightened connection to nature; and curiosity. The brief called for a new, expressive ‘gateway’ into the reserve.
With this, our concept proposal centres around the canopy, which offers shelter, meeting point and a dramatic sense of arrival to the reserve. Visitors are invited to explore the field of structural timber columns with views onto the reserve beyond. This open gateway softens boundaries between indoors and outdoors, as wildlife can also enter the center here.
The project is organised predominantly by the public realm (café, exhibition spaces, event space) and private spaces (offices, staff room, maintenance workshop, timber store). Public areas are situated with grand views to the West Lake, an eminent spot for bird watchers, while private functions of the center have close connection to the reserve.