The Neurosciences Institute

La Jolla, California

Collaborators Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Developed through a rigorous dialogue between Burton Studio, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, and the Institute’s founder, Dr. Gerald M. Edelman, M.D., Ph.D., the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla was designed as a “monastery for scientists.” The design team created a serene and peaceful environment that encourages deep thought and interaction and fosters groundbreaking scientific research. The campus, a hub of theoretical and clinical brain research, is anchored by a central plaza, a unique feature that unifies the three buildings – the theory center, laboratory, and auditorium.Read More

This serene gathering space harmonizes the solidity of hard surfaces with the soft, evocative qualities of native and naturalized plants. Interspersed with strips of flowing bamboo and loose horsetail, the plaza is surfaced in hand-seeded aggregate with a terrazzo ground finish. A polished granite water feature anchors the space, while large berms of ornamental grass and pepper trees echo the forms and seasonal color changes of the distant hills. A concrete niche planted with trimmed Melaleuca accentuates the play between architecture and landscape.

Every aspect of the Institute – from the furniture to the materials to the building and the landscape – contributes to a holistically serene and contemplative environment. Following the departure of the Neurosciences Institute, the campus has been repurposed as a molecular imaging center for the Scripps Research Institute.