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Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory

Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory

Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad

<![CDATA[<![CDATA[]]]]>]]>Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Exterior Photography, Facade, Concrete© Timothy Soar

Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Exterior Photography, FacadePerson Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Exterior Photography, ColumnPerson Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Interior Photography, Windows, Stairs, Facade, Chair, HandrailPerson Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Interior Photography, Windows, Chair, Stairs+ 29

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https://www.archdaily.com/984084/person-environment-activity-research-laboratory-penoyre-and-prasad Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Exterior Photography, Facade© James Tye

Text description provided by the architects. London-based architecture practice Penoyre & Prasad, a studio of Perkins&Will, has completed UCL’s unique research laboratory, PEARL. The research center’s goal is to improve the built environment and the way we interact with it. Life-sized environments – a railway station, high street, town square for example – will be built under controlled conditions to examine how people of all abilities interact with their urban environment and each other. 

Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Exterior Photography, Column© Timothy Soar

This highly collaborative project – bringing together engineers, architects, biologists, social scientists, neurologists, artists, and the public – is leading the way in designing for a more complex, integrated understanding of ourselves and our interactions with our environment.   

Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Interior Photography, Windows, Chair, Stairs© James Tye

With a floor area totaling around 4,000m2, a volume of 44,000m3, and ten meters high, the laboratoryspace has been designed and engineered with 40m clear structural spans to house hugely varied research experiments. Also equipped with indoor ambient environments and sound systems, the laboratorycan test the impact of environmental conditions, such as space, color, lighting, smell, visibility, appearance, touch, and sound on people’s behavior and perception – bringing experiment conditions as close to real-life scenarios as possible. The laboratoryinterior is black, and the background sound level and reverberation are very low – core aspects of the building’s design – intended to remove people’s sense of ‘being in a building’.

Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Image 24 of 29Ground floor planPerson Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Image 25 of 29First floor plan

Externally, the building’s form and materials relating to the site’s industrial architectural heritage; crisp detailing and weathered steel provide a contemporary twist.  The scalloped west facade references the roof form of its Grade II Listed neighbor, one of the first examples of shell concrete structure in the UK.  9m high, rusted steel panels gradually fan out across the frontage, providing shading to the Groove and signaling the entrance to PEARL.

Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Exterior Photography, Brick, Facade, Column© Timothy SoarPerson Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Interior Photography, Lighting© James Tye

Perforations in the steel mediate the scale and bring a sense of movement to the façade.  Repetitive patterns can cause distressing visual noise for people with sensory or neurological conditions. Working with Professor Nick Tyler and his team we looked to natural, non-linear imagery – people flow and crowd movement – both of which are key areas of research inside the building. The three-dimensional and abstract nature of the perforations also represents the flow of individual and collaborative ideas that swirl together and continue into the building to inspire the research that turns these ideas into innovations for the design of the future environments.

Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Image 7 of 29© James Tye

A triangular forecourt to the southwest of the building will locate some of PEARL’s larger experiments, including the use of tube/train carriages, and a decommissioned aircraft fuselage. The aircraft will be connected to high-level openings in the facade via two-jet bridges, animating the building’s external appearance and helping to create a real sense of identity for the facility. 

Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Interior Photography, Beam© Timothy SoarPerson Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Interior Photography, Shelving, Beam, Steel© Timothy Soar

As UCL’s first net-zero carbon in-use building, PEARL demonstrates the university’s strategic commitment to lead by example and operate in a sustainable way. Pearl has achieved BREEAM Outstanding – the first finished building ever to achieve an Outstanding rating under the new BREEAM standards.

Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Interior Photography, Living Room, Chair© James TyePerson Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Interior Photography, Table, Chair© James Tye

The building is projected to be carbon negative thanks to its highly efficient fabric, services, and the production of its own energy from a vast array of photovoltaics covering the entire roof. Built for deconstruction and the circular economy, the design maximizes the use of recycled and recyclable materials, whilst minimizing waste from the site through off-site prefabrication and cut and fill site preparation. 

Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Interior Photography, Dining room, Table, Windows, Chair, Lighting, Glass© Timothy SoarPerson Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Interior Photography, Kitchen, Lighting© Timothy Soar

Located in Dagenham, PEARL sits beside several other regeneration projects in the wider area. It aims to be a hub for the local community and is already working closely with multiple schools and colleges across the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory / Penoyre & Prasad - Interior Photography, Chair, Beam© James Tye

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