The Nature and Wellbeing Centre aims to be the first of its kind in the country dedicated to connecting people and nature in ways that demonstrate positive benefits for both people and wildlife. It will also raise awareness about the importance of our natural environment for our own wellbeing and that of the planet.
Last year, the Trust, in partnership with The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), launched an open design competition seeking worldwide registered architects and architect-led teams to put forward designs that promote learning, wellbeing, curiosity and nature for a new visitor centre at its ever popular Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, where a record 75,000 visitors were reported in 2017.
In April, the public were invited to an exhibition to view and comment on the four short-listed design concepts for the ambitious Centre.
Head of People Engagement, Stevie Rice, said: “Kent Wildlife Trust is extremely delighted to be working with Studio McLeod and Ekkist on the redevelopment of the Visitor Centre into a Nature and Wellbeing Centre. The team is committed to bringing our vision to life with a building that engages people in looking after nature and their own wellbeing. They have designed a space that addresses the sensitivities of the site but has the ability to provide the local community with a space that they can use effectively whilst experiencing the wellbeing benefits of connecting with nature.
“Working closely with them will provide the opportunity to create an experience for people that will demonstrate how nature supports human wellbeing and how people support nature in a mutually beneficial way. This will be an exciting partnership and we look forward to starting the journey with Studio McLeod and Ekkist.”
A spokesperson for Studio McLeod and Ekkist said: “The team is delighted to have been selected amongst the strong set of competition entries. Kent Wildlife Trust put together an inspiring brief,
and we are excited to begin working with them and local residents to craft a centre that benefits the wellbeing of people and nature, and contributes to healthier communities.”