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Penoyre & Prasad wins approval for life-sized urban prototypes ‘laboratory’

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Penoyre & Prasad has won approval for a life-sized urban environments study facility in Dagenham, east London, for UCL

The Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory (PEARL) will be used to study how people interact with urban environments.

The floorplate includes 600m² of reconfigurable space, which will allow researchers to set up life-sized controlled-condition environments – a town square, high street or railway station, for examples.

Researchers will study how people navigate different infrastructure configurations with a view to designing better environments.

Penoyre & Prasad’s net-zero carbon design includes a free-standing two-storey cross-laminated timber structure containing a workshop, teaching spaces and other facilities.

730 ucl pearl penoyre prasad concept sketch

730 ucl pearl penoyre prasad concept sketch

Source: Penoyre & Prasad

Concept sketch

The building will also have platforms with height adjustable modules, while a forecourt will contain second-hand tube trains and a decommissioned aircraft fuselage.

Ben Stubbs, senior sustainability manager at UCL, said: ‘As an increasing number of organisations set ambitious targets for carbon reduction, we’re excited that PEARL will be UCL’s first net-zero carbon building – helping to set the bar for future developments.

‘This is thanks to a combination of highly efficient building fabric and services, as well as taking advantage of the extensive roof space for solar PV panels.’

Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, claimed the development would ‘contribute to Dagenham’s growing recognition as a centre for media, data and engineering’.

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