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PEARL is coming closer...!

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

As we move through June, the snagging in the building is progressing and the details are beginning to emerge. This week we have seen some of the internal signage being installed and the building is beginning to feel ready to start work. We will be recruiting our Community Engagement Team soon, and we are busy preparing the materials for that so that we can find some great people to help us work closely with the local community in the future.

The following image shows part of the interior welcome space at PEARL. We call it 'The Rise' because it embraces two floors. This will become a community gallery where we will be able to display exhibits created by people from the local community.

This image shows the PEARL entrance lobby space, called The Rise,
The Rise - the welcome space at the entrance to PEARL

For those who have not yet had a chance to visit PEARL - always tricky in these difficult times - here are some images of the outside of the building. These show the façade at the west end of the building and the pedestrian path towards the entrance door.

The façade, designed by the architects Penoyre & Prasad, represents movements of pedestrians as they move around a space, or the swirls of starlings at sunset - or the fusion of lots of different ideas as they come together and fly into the building, where we research them and work to create new ideas to make the world a better place for everyone.

The west façade of the PEARL building
This is the west façade of the PEARL building

The pedestrian footpath towards the PEARL entrance is made of a softer surface than usual. It is the same material you might be familiar with in a playground - installed to reduce injuries if children should fall. We have installed it at the entrance to PEARL for two reasons. First, it enables you to feel that you are arriving at a different place as your feet feel the softer, kinder surface when you turn into the PEARL forecourt from the road. Secondly, it is an example of some of our research, which is showing that softer surfaces like this can help to reduce injuries to ankles, knees and hips, and could help to reduce long-term injuries and to build strength to reduce the likelihood of falling later on.

This image shows the pedestrian entrance to PEARL
The pedestrian entrance to PEARL - the soft surface to the left and the standard concrete pavers to the right

Meanwhile we are preparing the inside of the building. Here is an image showing some of the experiment stages - platforms where we can 'bend' the floor to have different gradients - and where we can illuminate them in a range of different colours using our unique lighting system.

This image shows the interior of PEARL, with some of the experiment stages in place
Inside PEARL, showing some of the experiment stages

This webpage is to help us to engage with you. We want to hear from you about the challenges you face in public spaces in general, including the pedestrian and transport environments - as well as the things that work well for you. You can put a comment in the Comments box below, or you can contact us directly through the "Connect" tab at the top of this page - we would love to hear from you. If you want more formal information about PEARL and the work we do, please go to

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