Surrey, England
Sevenoaks Nature and Wellbeing Centre creates a harmonious relationship with the Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve by connecting several distinct buildings with a meandering walkway. 
Each containing a key programmatic function, these pavilions are dispersed across the site to establish physical and visual connections to the surrounding landscape. This separation allows the Centre to be truly integrated with the Reserve, with the in-between spaces becoming courtyards, gardens, play areas or animal habitats. 
The pavilions are linked with a covered walkway, providing shelter and orientation but blurring the boundaries between internal and external spaces - bringing the inside out as well as the outside in. This frames views of the site whilst defining thresholds between the car park, gardens and wider reserve. By ensuring each of the Centre’s functions has a meaningful connection to its landscape, the building can champion nature and wellbeing as two reciprocal and intertwined ideas. 
The reconfigured car park brings visitors to the entrance of the Centre, marked by a timber walkway and a roof that falls to shelter it. This loggia form is found throughout the project - asymmetrical roofs which mark individual functions and slope to cover entrances and walkways - including the large terrace of the cafe which embraces both the courtyard and the West Lake, creating an inviting place to enjoy the view with a cup of tea. The Studio turns to frame views to the West and contains facilities for school groups. The pavilions respond to the site’s topography to embrace connections to the Reserve whilst preserving and enhancing the existing landscape.​​​​​​​
The design’s simple timber construction - ecologically balanced and harmonious with its natural setting - takes inspiration from Kent’s barn vernacular, reinterpreted with zinc roof coverings and vertical larch slats to create a cost effective and durable assembly which will weather and mature with the Reserve. This construction is designed to require only routine maintenance, and the separation of distinct functions allows each pavilion to be independently used and secured whilst the walkways unite them as a single Centre. 
The arrangement of timber pavilions placed around a series of courtyards and gardens has been crafted to create innovative and meaningful connections between wildlife, landscape and its visitors, revealing their interdependency. As a gateway to the Reserve, the building aims to manifest its commitment to biodiversity, sustainability and discovery. 


More projects

Back to Top