PEARL has won yet another award: this time, it is the London Regional Award from the Royal Institution of British Architects! This is an award which addresses the building "in use" and the extent to which it is serving its purpose in practice. So, more than just being a wonderful piece of architecture, PEARL is also proving the ability of this architecture to facilitate the important work we do!
As it happened, when the RIBA Jury came to visit PEARL to make the judgement for the award, they did indeed see the building "in use": as part of an event organised by the Borough of Barking and Dagenham's Film Unit, we were hosting 400 local school students to show them what trades were involved in the film-making process. (Just that morning, there were another 300 students so it was a busy day!). So, while PEARL is designed primarily as a research lab concerned with understanding the complexities of how people interact with the environment, it also serves as an inspirational place where we can pass on that thinking to the next generation.
This event is just one way in which we are helping to engage young people in our research activities. We also run, in conjunction with our neighbours Brook Sixth Form and Academy (https://www.brooksixthform.com), an Ambassador programme to enable school students to develop their aspirations in a strong professional way. In this programme, the students first learn how to describe and explain PEARL to others, before working with our technical and research teams to develop skills in sound, lighting, construction design and research. They then have the chance to join our Experiment Teams to help us make sure that our research is not only about the global scientific advances that we create, but is also grounded in the local reality. How amazing these students are!
It is great that the RIBA 'In use" awards reflect the wider aspects of what we do, and the impact we are making on the young people in our local community, and we would like to thank RIBA for this acknowledgement.