Foster + Partners inspired by science for pioneering research facility
Foster + Partners
The Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences completed in Jerusalem
Tenderstream member Foster + Partners have completed The Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences, situated in the heart of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Following the opening of a new tram link to the city centre, the building is expected to act as a gateway to the university, with dynamic social spaces and laboratory facilities intended to attract exceptional scientists, as well as fostering an interest in the centre’s research activities within the wider community.
The centre is comprised of two parallel wings, with upper levels housing twenty-eight highly flexible laboratories linked by social hubs. The ground floor includes teaching facilities, a 200-seat auditorium, a library, café and a publicly accessible gallery for the display of art related to the brain. The central courtyard unites these different functions, establishes new circulation routes through the campus and draws the greenery of the surrounding landscape into the building.
Spencer de Grey, head of design at Foster + Partners, said: “Understanding the enigma of the brain is the most challenging endeavour of the 21st century and research in this area is vital to the quality of life for millions of people. This is one of the most innovative projects of its kind at an Israeli university, with several laboratory complexes that are highly flexible to anticipate and accommodate future change, arranged around an open central courtyard that is at the heart of the scheme.”
In the context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the building anticipated the importance of health and wellbeing with a design that is underpinned by the principles of biophilia. The quiet, reflective courtyard is planted with citrus trees and a man-made stream along its length, with a retractable ETFE roof. Local materials, such as Jerusalem stone, are used where possible, and the building is orientated east-west to reduce solar gain. The upper three levels are shaded by a cast aluminium screen, with a non-repetitive representation of the early twentieth century drawings by Spanish neuroscientist, Santiago Ramon y Cajal, illustrating the neurological brain structure.
Darron Haylock, partner at Foster + Partners, commented: “The project has a progressive social agenda that has been applied at an urban scale, creating a centre for research and learning that is truly inclusive. The new building is located just off the main pedestrian spine of the University and its façade invites exploration, drawing people inside to learn about the research activities.”
Tenderstream Head of Research
This tender was first published by Tenderstream on 28.11.2014 here