Science learning centre being built at Queen Mary University of London

Work on a 10m high education pod resembling a giant neuron designed by Will Alsop has begun at an east London university.

Designed for the Centre of the Cell education centre at Queen Mary University of London, the freestanding pod will be connected to the centre’s current space via a bridge link.

Alsop’s £1.5 million pod has been commissioned to deal with the number of visitors to the site in Whitechapel. The centre is designed to inspire school children to pursue a career in the sciences and engage the public with biomedical research.

The largest piece of the structure, the ‘axon’, is expected to arrive by police escort towards the end of the month, and construction will be completed towards the end of the year.

It is being made of 13 steel sections and will be 23m long when finished.

Alsop, whose other projects have included Palestra, home to Transport for London in Southwark, said: “I feel proud to have the opportunity to contribute to this amazing institution. Their work in encouraging young people is extraordinary.”

Funders of the project include the Wellcome Trust, Barts Charity and the Wolfson Foundation.

The project team includes Total Construction, Littlehampton Welding and engineer AKT II.

Alsop pod

The pod will be completed by the end of the year