Open House Festival


event, concert/performance space, education, mixed use, community/cultural, scientific

Penoyre & Prasad, 2021

UCL PEARL, Yew Tree Avenue, RM10 7FN

UCL PEARL is a brand new building designed to be a laboratory that can "house the world" so that we can create different environments from around the world for experiments about people and the environment around them.

Getting there


Dagenham East





Additional travel info

Dagenham East tube station is just a 10 minute walk from PEARL. From Romford train station you can get the 103 bus to Reed Road which is a 5 minute walk from PEARL.


Accessibility notes

If there is anything we can do to make your visit more comfortable please let us know e.g., if you would like a guide to aid your mobility. We have three accessible parking spaces at the front of the building. Please be aware you will need to pass through the security gate for the LondonEast-UK science park. Please tell security you are going to UCL PEARL and they will direct you to our building.


What is UCL PEARL?

PEARL (Person-Environment-Activity Research Laboratory) is a one-of-a-kind laboratory for simulating real world environments under controlled conditions. This allows us to test how people of various capabilities react to different environmental stimuli (including lighting, sound and smell) so that we can then design places which are better for everyone. So far, we have simulated environments ranging from an urban park to a supermarket, and have helped to design more accessible buses, trains, stations and streets in the UK and around the world. You will get the chance to experience some of the state-of-the-art lighting and sound facilities we have to offer, and get an insight into how we can use this to make the world a better place.

Content of the tours

Our vision is to help design cities which are better for people and the environment. This year, we will show you more of the exciting projects we have been working on and how we recreate environmental conditions using our state-of-the-art facilities. Members of the team will explain what this work is all about, as well as the rationale behind some curious architectural details. This is a great opportunity to witness how both the building and our research are helping to shape a better future.


We will be having timed visits so that you can have the best experience. Tickets are free but you must sign up in advance. The tours will last approximately 90 minutes with time to ask questions and will be held at 10:30am, 1pm and 3pm. The architects will join us for the final tour on 8th and all of the tours on 9th.

The Building

PEARL is a massive space in which we can manipulate the ground, simulate different lighting conditions, create soundscapes and concoct smells. Learning about how we respond to such conditions then allows us to design the world in a way which is healthier and more sustainable for all. The PEARL building stands on part of the site of the old May and Baker pharmaceutical factory. The building comprises a portal frame, cladded in steel, with a distinctive Corten steel façade. Within it is housed our main experimental Space: a very large space that is 100m long, up to 40m wide, and column-free in order to give the flexibility our experiments require. There are many interesting architectural details which you will notice once inside that help to create the blank canvas needed in order to re-create different types of environments. Furthermore, the building is powered by 4,000 square metres of solar panels which produces much more clean energy than we could use. We are proud to donate this energy to the surrounding community and be recognised as UCL's first net zero carbon building.

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