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BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

Denmark Architecture News - Mar 17, 2022 - 18:15   1186 views

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has unveiled design for a new Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center that brings together psychiatry and neuroscience under one roof to combine groundbreaking science and treatment of physical and mental brain diseases, spinal cord and nervous systems.

Named NEURO, the 20,000-square-metre complex, which is set to be "the first of its kind in the world", is designed as part of the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark

BIG's design mimics "the gyrification of the human brain" to create a larger program in the limited site area in a most efficient way, while creating synergies between the different disciplines within the hospital.

The six-storey neuroscience center is composed of five separate buildings that are interlinked to each other. 

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

Positioned to make a loop from one to another, the center's exterior is made of red concrete - while natural materials such as wood and brick will be used in other buildings at the campus, aiming to bring positive health benefits and a comforting atmosphere to the patients and guests. 

The Danish Neuroscience Center (DNC) was established in 2009 and it has become a world-class research and treatment facility for understanding and treating the most complex, efficient and adaptive organ in our body – the brain. 

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

Set to open in 2026, BIG's new NEURO Center will connect directly with the existing campus of Aarhus University Hospital and seek to intensify the hospital’s unique approach combining healthcare, education and scientific research to collaborate and inspire each other. 

A major financial declaration of intent by The Salling Foundations allows the project to move forward.

"The brain is the most complex organ in the human body. Our design for the new Danish Neuroscience Center in Aarhus, replicates the most essential feature of the brain - the gyrification - to create more connections and space within limited confines," said Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.

"The building folds bring light, lots of new pathways and green pockets into the hospital making nature and biodiversity part of the hospital’s research and the healing journey of its patients," Ingels added.

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

The six-storey neuroscience center will combine the efficiency of a double loaded corridor building with the generosity and openness of a classic atrium typology. 

The building is folding the floor plan around an atrium, similar to the characteristic folds in the cerebral cortex, the design not only allows each floor to reach the necessary square footage withing a limited area, it also creates a number of connections and smaller clusters with intimate workspaces, courtyards and views between each floor within the hospital.

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

"Through the fantastic support from The Salling Foundations and collaboration with BIG, we are one step closer to realizing the new Danish Neuroscience Center to create an optimal framework for further advancing the field of neuroscience and thereby creating new treatments for our patients with diseases of the brain, spinal cord and nerves," said Jens Christian Hedemann Sørensen, Professor of neurosurgery and chairman of DNC.

"The building must - like the brain - function as a space for knowledge sharing that creates new connections, contexts and common understandings. We want to disrupt the way of thinking of the physical and mental brain diseases as isolated quantities. The location between AUH and AUH Psychiatry and BIG’s design of the building promotes and cements this approach." 

"There will be a connection to the outside world through public access to experience centers, exhibitions, and lectures in our incredible brain house. It will be a unique and iconic building that I look forward to following every step of the way,” Jens Christian Hedemann Sørensen added.

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

A generous reception area will welcome patients and guests and will arrive into a large open atrium at the center of the building which contains an experience center. 

The experience center will also be used as an interactive public exhibition and presentation area where the visitors can learn about the hospital’s latest research and findings. 

The visitors are guided directly to one of the clinics upstairs or enjoy the café and a public green courtyard at ground level.

Each department from neurology to nuclear medicine, headache clinic and psychiatry has its own distinct space and program functions. 

To avoid separation and fragmentation between the disciplines, BIG proposes to organize them by the functions they have in common. 

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

"This encourages crossbreeding between the different research groups that can help fuel inspiration, innovation and creativity, and future proof the spaces for growth, reduction or replacement," BIG explained. 

"Danish Neuroscience Center seeks to bridge the research and treatment of physical and psychological brain conditions and destigmatize psychological disorders," said David Zahle, Partner, BIG.  

"Historically, hospitals have divided knowledge and expertise into different specialties and departments. DNC seeks to gather all current and future knowledge under one roof to create synergies between different expertise areas and a more holistic approach to understanding and curing brain disorders," added Zahle.

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

For material preference, BIG will use red concrete for the exterior to blend well with the existing brick buildings and bring warmth to the spaces. This material will also make a contrast the usual clinical and sanitized white environment of hospitals.

All office areas in the building will naturally be ventilated and every floor will have an access to an outdoor terrace. 

A stretched metal window mesh will prevent all workspaces from being affected by glare or direct sunlight, filtering the light to provide each office, laboratory or examination room with pleasant natural illumination. 

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

BIG designs Neuroscience and Psychiatrics Center with interlinked buildings in Denmark

BIG targets a DGBN Gold sustainability certification for the project, which is given for hospitals in Denmark.

BIG is designing a hotel room wrapped by 350 birdhouses in Sweden. The firm is also working on a Virtual Office Building in the Metaverse for Vice Media Group. BIG and A-Lab are also designing a new innovation district Oslo Science City in Norway. 

Project facts

Architects: BIG

Name: NEURO

Size:  19.852 m2

Location:  Aarhus, Denmark 

Client: Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Aarhus, Denmark 
Collaborators:
Salling Fondene
Type: Health, Science  

Partners-in-Charge:  Bjarke Ingels, David Zahle 

Project Leader: Viktoria Millentrup 

Team:  Alexander Matthias Jacobson, Anders Holden Deleuran, Bachir Benkirane, Federico Martinez De Sola, Jesper Kanstrup Petersen, Julia Novaes Tabet, Luca Pileri, Lukasz Zbigniew Migala, Mikkel M. R. Stubgaard, Natasha Lykke Lademann Østergaard, Omar Mowafy, Taliya Nurutdinova, Victor Mads Moegreen, Zuzanna Eugenia Montwill, Kristoffer Negendahl, Mantas Povilaika 

BIG Ideas: Tore Banke, Katrine Juul  
BIG Landscape: Ulla Hornslyd 
BIG Engineering: Andy Coward 

All images © BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

> via BIG