Foster + Partners complete the future-minded Edmond and Lily Safra Centre for Brain Sciences
Studio Harel Gilboa

Foster + Partners complete the future-minded Edmond and Lily Safra Centre for Brain Sciences

20 Aug 2021  •  News  •  By Allie Shiell

Featuring a perforated aluminium screen façade with a pattern derived from neurological brain structure, Foster + Partners has unveiled the Edmond and Lily Safra Centre for Brain Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A future-minded research facility for the scientific exploration of the brain, the building has been carefully situated in the naturally rugged centre of the campus and marks a gateway to the university. 

Studio Harel Gilboa

The building is arranged as two parallel wings around a central courtyard. The ground floor hosts teaching facilities, a 200-seat auditorium, a library, a café, and a publicly accessible gallery for the display of art related to the brain. The upper levels accomodate twenty-eight highly flexible laboratories linked by social hubs, which encourage informal interaction and the exchange of ideas between students and staff.

Studio Harel Gilboa

The courtyard at the heart of the scheme unites these different functions, establishes new circulation routes through the campus and draws the greenery of the surrounding landscape into the building. Planted with citrus trees and a man-made stream along its length, the courtyard forms a quiet, reflective space and a cool microclimate, which can be further mediated by a retractable ETFE roof.

Studio Harel Gilboa

The centre’s progressive environmental strategy makes use of passive techniques to naturally reduce energy use. The central courtyard, open balconies and circulation all contribute towards a healthy research campus. Local materials, such as Jerusalem stone, are utilised where possible, and the building is orientated east-west to reduce solar gain. Further passive cooling of the building is provided by translucent ETFE canopies to the west and east, which form distinctive markers for the main entrances.

Studio Harel Gilboa