With the COVID vaccine developed and distributed in record time, the medical world is at the forefront of our minds now more than ever. Did you know that it can take up to 15 years to introduce new treatments to patients? Research focused on understanding diseases and developing new treatments requires close interactions between clinical services and research laboratories. The new Pears Building, situated next to the Royal Free Hospital in London, is designed to do precisely that.

A collaboration between the Royal Free London, the Royal Free Charity, and University College London, the Pears Building is now home to The UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation (IIT). This world-class research organisation develops revolutionary new treatments for conditions including leukaemia and diabetes.

The IIT brings together doctors, nurses, scientists, and patients who are all focused on testing new medicines in clinical trials, which means the timeframe for bringing new treatments to patients will be substantially shorter.

Designed to achieve BREEAM Excellent, the Pears Building includes laboratories, patient accommodation, a car park, and the Royal Free Charity's offices. Many residents and organisations have supported the project. Among these is the Pears Foundation, which donated £5million.

Working for the principal contractor Willmott Dixon, the appointed design and build contractors, TClarke, were tasked to find a lighting scheme that met the technical specification and the end client's budget. A TRILUX scheme fit the bill.

John Eagan, Design & Build Contracts Manager, TClarke, comments, "One of the building's main aims was to provide a cost-effective and adaptable facility to improve the provision of care for patients. For the lighting, the TRILUX range was the perfect answer. We were able to meet our buying targets and deliver a complete project of quality lights which meet or in some cases exceed the technical specification."

The TRILUX LC60 LED light channel provides the backbone of the scheme. Both suspended and recessed clean, continuous lines of light are installed throughout the laboratories and offices. The infill spaces are ideal for adding sensors and services. Moreover, the wiring from one end helps with maintenance.

Central to the scheme is the atrium and feature staircase, designed to foster interaction among researchers and create a vibrant hub for clinical research at the heart of the building. Over 200 bespoke diffused glass LED pendants are installed to stunning effect, balancing and contrasting with the robust concrete surroundings.

Tom Wright, Lighting Project Engineer, TRILUX details, "The pendant design was developed with Hopkins Architects and BDP. We provided mock-ups and samples and finessed the design until the desired lit, and visual effects were achieved. Our full project solution ticked all the boxes: it met TClarke's budget, the technical specification from BDP, and the architect's aesthetic vision."

Further TRILUX luminaires have also been used in the back of house areas, carparks, and circulation routes across the entire building.

John adds, "the lighting complements the industrial design concept; they go together exceptionally well. When you look up from the ground floor, you can see the lighting design signature running throughout the building's fabric. The effect is fantastic and adds to the iconic nature of this project."

Lora Kalvea, Lighting Designer at BDP, concludes, "Overall, the collaboration was very successful. Additionally, the luminaires from TRILUX standard range provided high quality workspace lighting for the labs and write-up areas. The luminaires are dimmable throughout and provide comfortable, glare-free illumination. The TRILUX team was helpful and responded to all our comments and requests, and the cooperative spirit is reflected in the great result – a well-lit building."


Project Team

  • Architect: Hopkins Architects
  • Principal Contractor: Willmott Dixon
  • Consultant: BDP
  • MEP Services Installation: TClarke
  • Lighting: TRILUX