This new UCL (University College London) laboratory, designated PEARL (Person-Environment-Activity Research Laboratory), is a research facility for the creation of full-size environments to test how people use infrastructure and cities.
PEARL is a unique, purpose-built and reconfigurable space, being UCL’s first net-zero carbon in-use building. It will facilitate research in a wide range of areas – from medical and brain sciences to smart data, public health and the performing arts.
At approximately 4,000sqm by 10m high and located in Dagenham, it will allow researchers to engage with the public and study interactions at a micro-scale, such as brain activity, skin response, mass-distribution in the foot, or emotional responses.
The building is carbon negative with highly efficient building fabrics, services and a photovoltaic array covering the entire roof that ensures energy is entirely renewable.
Externally, architectural scalloped and perforated, weathered steel panels provide solar shading and act as flags signifying the entrance.
The observation offices were fitted with built-in blackout blinds that retract with concealed components to exclude light in the events lab. All the blinds are perfectly synced to raise and lower together at the touch of a button.
Five super-size roller blinds complement the foyer, scaling eight metres high.
Penovre & Prasad