ARCHIPELAGO, KENT WILDLIFE TRUST
Ab Rogers Design 2017
The idea for Sevenoaks Nature and Wellbeing Centre is to create architecture in dialogue and harmony with its surroundings - like the nest a bird builds in a tree. A place of sanctuary for animals and humans alike, offering a unique opportunity to commune with nature.
The site must serve everyone from families and school groups to serious enthusiasts and stressed city dwellers.
In Archipelago, a collection of cells at different scales contain different functions - the main visitor centre; a flexible, open plan space containing a programme of multifunctional, shared spaces - exhibition space, retail, reception, café etc, the existing shed which will contain offices and storage for staff and finally the outbuildings which become off-grid, wood-fuelled, therapy and spa rooms inspired by the Nordic huts of the Arctic Circle.
The form of the main building has been suggested by the organic shape of a rock fragment smoothed out by and nestled into its surroundings.
Clad in timber fins and roofed with solar panels, it gradually expands, as if emerging from the landscape, as you are carried down a gentle slope (through retail, reception and facilities) to the glorious framed view beyond the main exhibition.