Transforming UCL


Sainsbury Wellcome Centre

The Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour brings together world-leading scientists to investigate how brain circuits process information to create the neural representations that guide behaviour.

The purpose-designed, seven-storey building was built by Kier Construction and designed by the award-winning firm Ian Ritchie Architects in collaboration with scientific advisors and a team of specialist consultants including Arup.

The centre is structured to foster a culture of innovation, collaboration, enquiry and excellence with an unparalleled research environment. This includes

  • state-of-the-art research laboratories with 12 labs spread across five floors plus two below ground level
  • cutting-edge scientific equipment, technologically-advanced prototyping and fabrication laboratories and custom in-house high-performance computing facilities
  • A brasserie and roof garden

SWC aims to engage the public with the world of neuroscience research, such as the front façades with rippling glass panels to represent waves of activity in the brain. A landscaped pocket park, open to the general public, will include projections of stunning neuroscience images.The building was designed with energy, spatial efficiency and sustainability in mind, and has received a BREEAM 'excellent' rating, with operational efficiencies and reduced running costs compared to similar facilities. Examples include:

  • A combined heat and power system to maximise energy efficiency and contributes an 11% reduction in carbon emissions. It will also supply heating to the neighbouring student accommodation at Astor College.
  • A smart lab ventilation system continually samples the air to maintain optimum environmental conditions, and is predicted to provide an additional 11% carbon reduction.
  • Cycle parking and changing facilities for more than half of the building users to support health & wellbeing and help to reduce local air pollution.

The SWC is located within UCL's School of Life and Medical Sciences and closely associated with the Faculties of Life Sciences and Brain Sciences. For more information visit http://www.ucl.ac.uk/sw