Attractions industry news

11 Mar 2019

Neuron Pod science and learning centre opens in London

A new children’s science and learning centre building has opened in London’s East End, having been uniquely designed by famed late architect Will Alsop to replicate a nerve cell.

One of Alsop’s last creations before his death last year, Neuron Pod, which is based at the Centre of the Cell institute at Queen Mary University of London, is a 75ft-long, 32ft-high, three-legged steel structure that will act as a second building for Centre of the Cell.

Aimed at children, Neuron Pod will host science workshops and events, including special events for visiting schools, and aims to increase the number of visitors to the centre of the Cell.

The new building will also host adult initiatives in the evenings and provide activities for 14-18-year-old school visitors, as well as improving disabled access and increasing the number of programmes for young people with learning difficulties.

"Amazingly it looks just like the plans, especially at night when its lights are all on. It’s what we hoped and dreamed about,” said Fran Balkwill, director of Centre of the Cell.

"It’s iconic, controversial, fun and extremely practical. It’s about raising aspirations. Many of the children who come and see us will be the first generation of their family going to university.

"We are never going to turn all our visitors into scientists but it’s about lighting the spark in some of them."

The project cost around £2m (US$2.6m, €2.3m) to build and was pre-fabricated at a site in the south of England. Funding was received via charitable donations.

Speaking before his death, Alsop said of his creation: "I feel proud to have the opportunity to contribute to this amazing institution. Their work in encouraging young people is extraordinary."

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