Sevenoaks, UK

Private Compeition



Wetlands Competition Entry

The wetlands competition brief asked for a visitors centre that promotes learning, wellbeing, curiosity and nature. The building and surrounding landscape needed to be beautiful, in sympathy with and complementary to the reserve setting, memorable, functional and durable.

Architectural competitions allow SOUP to develop skills through investigating different workflows and conceptual approaches to design that might not suit our conventional projects. Competitions rely heavily upon visualisations to convey architectural intent, they are also a fantastic chance for SOUP to explore and practice different modelling and visualisation techniques.

After completing an initial contextual study, we learnt that the current building appeared to be failing due to its disconnection from the reserve. The centre was hidden and deprived of engaging views. We felt that any intervention placed onto the site needed a sympathetic but dramatic engagement with the surrounding habitats, that evoked curiosity amongst visitors.

The programme set out by the brief was extensive and challenging. After interrogation of the brief we identified both important and subservient spaces, grouping them into complementary sub-programmes. This fragmentation of the programme allowed a scheme to develop which consisted of smaller separate masses allowing circulation to occur externally, meaning that visitors were not disconnected from the environment that they seeked to explore.