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The Neurosciences Institute (La Jolla, California)

The Neurosciences Institute (La Jolla, California)

The Neurosciences Institute, The Scripps Research Institute by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien in La Jolla, California is completed in 1995.  The 56,000 SF program consists of a theory center, laboratories, and a 352 seat auditorium.  These three buildings situate around a quiet plaza where the sound of water throughout provides an extra layer of tranquility.  The use of sand blasted concrete, warm redwood, Texas fossil stone, dark green serpentine stones, and bead blasted stainless steel provide a heightened cohesiveness of the design concept.  I really love the architects’ playful treatment of these materials and the effects exude great textures in a subdued yet powerful way.  The interplay of the solid forms against the planar qualities of a space in this piece of architecture are astounding.  There’s a real conscientious thought process revolving around the circulation around the site and amongst the three buildings.  They all play a critical role to activate and gravitate around the small plaza.  The ramp across the front of the Theory Center building was a very impressive way of journeying down to the plaza.  I was especially drawn by the auditorium’s beautifully sculpted interior.  The faceted surfaces on the sides and the ceiling exemplifies the architects’ creative acoustic strategy to provide harmony of function and form.  The Neurosciences Institute is a very dynamic piece of architecture, a hidden gem in the sloped site.