Four young practices vie for £2m project

The RIBA has revealed the shortlisted designs for a £2m visitor centre at a Kent wildlife reserve.

The anonymous proposals were picked from a “great number of submissions” from architects around the world, according to John Bennett, chief executive of Kent Wildlife Trust.

The practices shortlisted in the RIBA-run open design competition are ArkleBoyce Architects; Ben Adams Architects; Bilska de Beaupuy and Studio McLeod.

Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve is 73ha of woodland, lakes, ponds and reedbeds and is almost entirely man-made. It was the first place in the UK to redevelop an industrial gravel pit expressly to benefit wildlife, an idea that has been much imitated since.

It attracts up to 75,000 visitors a year and the new amenity must promote learning, wellbeing, curiosity and nature, according to the brief.

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, said Stevie Rice, head of people engagement for Kent Wildlife Trust.

The four entries have gone on public display at the reserve.

A winner will be picked at the end of May.