Nature Reserve Sevenoaks

2017, Kent, England

The visitor experience at Sevenoaks Nature Reserve is fundamentally about being outside, in contact with the natural world . The new project should enhance that experience. The woodlands provide an internalised and enclosed habitat articulated by footpaths, in contrast the lakes offer an expanse of space and views.

The primary proposal is to form a clearing in the woods, a room-like space that provides orientation and direction to the network of paths and places in the nature reserve. The clearing then opens out to the lakes and the proposed new islands, revealing new perspectives and views from the central space. The greater terrain reveals itself more fully to visitors on arrival. The clearing provides a place of arrival in the nature reserve. The building form is a defined gateway, portal to the park.

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The new building complex is also a hub within the complex of walks and paths, with many routes starting and finishing at this point. The proposal clarifies the current arrangement but amplifies the centre’s role as a place of orientation.