On March 15th 2022, the plans for a new Danish Neuroscience Center (DNC) were presented at a press conference at Aarhus University Hospital.
See press release below:
Aarhus University Hospital and Aarhus University will create elite centre for brain research and treatment
At the presentation of the project, a group of people from Aarhus University Hospital, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and the Foundation of Købmand Herman Salling gathered around a project model for the future building (photo: Tonny Foghmar).
Aarhus University Hospital and Aarhus University in Denmark are known worldwide for their contribution to diagnostics and treatment of brain diseases. A new iconic building by the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), one of the world’s most influential design studios, will gather research activities in psychiatry and neurology under one roof – the Danish Neuroscience Centre (DNC). The Danish Salling Foundations will support the construction with DKK 250 million.
Every fifth Dane is affected by diseases of the brain amounting to DKK 39 billion annually covering hospital and home care as well as medicine. In a new iconic construction by the Bjarke Ingels Group, DNC will gather prominent international brain researchers, providing the framework for the next big breakthrough in the treatment of brain diseases. The building will host researchers across professions – primarily within neurology and psychiatry.
The architecture is inspired by the anatomical shape of the folds in the brain. The architectural construction will facilitate new collaborations and connections between clinicians, researchers, patients, and relatives – with reference to the connections in the brain.
De-stigmatisation of psychiatric disease
It is a goal for DNC to break with the division between somatic and psychiatric diseases of the brain and in this way de-stigmatise psychiatric disease. Brain research can contribute to explain the underlying reasons for some psychiatric treatments against depression such as magnetic stimulation of the brain or electroconvulsive therapy.
- The financial support by the Salling Foundations to the new DNC building is an important step towards creating the optimal framework for further advancement in the world elite of neuroresearch to create new ground-breaking treatments for our patients with physical diseases in the brain, spinal cord, and nerves as well as those suffering from psychiatric diseases, says Jens Christian Hedemann Sørensen, Professor of neurosurgery and Chairman of DNC.
Christian Hedemann Sørensen continues:
– the thought behind the building is to make room for networking – for establishing new connections like in the brain – and establish common understandings and perceptions and stop seeing somatic and psychiatric diseases as isolated conditions.
The location of the DNC building between the somatic and psychiatric facilities as well as the architectural shape of the building promotes and emphasizes this understanding and approach.
The fascinating ability of the brain to gather and connect knowledge has inspired BIG’s design choices.
Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of BIG, about the idea behind the architecture:
- The brain is the most complex and adaptable organ of the body. Our design of the Danish Neuroscience Centre replicates the essential principle of the brain – the brain folds – providing room for contacts within limited space. The folds are ‘green pockets’ bringing in light and the surrounding green landscape inspiring patients, visitors, and staff to go outside and get some fresh air and be inspired by the nature and biodiversity to promote both research efforts and the healing process.
Architect illustration of the future Danish Neuroscience Center (DNC) which will be constructed at Aarhus University Hospital (illustration: BIG).
Connections to the surrounding society
The research centre will include an exploratorium, creating a connection to the surrounding society exhibiting new results and hosting lectures on brain research. The centre will be the place where knowledge, research, and communication about the diseases of the brain are created and a place at the hospital welcoming everybody – not only patients and relatives. The DNC has already created results, which have led to new treatments worldwide. Now the public can get close to the surroundings where this happens!
Financial support by the Salling Foundations
The Danish Neuroscience Centre is financed by private donations only.
The Salling Foundations consider the DNC project to be very visionary and have a huge potential and the foundations have declared their interest in supporting the DNC with DKK 250 million. The chairman of the Herman Salling Foundation, Jens Bjerg Sørensen, says about the support for the construction, which will be an architectural landmark for Aarhus:
- We see the Danish Neuroscience Centre as a unique opportunity to put Aarhus on the world map within the field of brain research. The Salling Foundations have had very interesting meetings with the hospital management on the development of new and improved possibilities to diagnose and treat diseases of the brain to the benefit of patients. No doubt, the BIG construction will be a landmark for Denmark’s second largest city Aarhus – a building hosting world-class research.
Danish Neuroscience Centre was established in 2009 by Central Denmark Region and Aarhus University. The centre expands and is relocating to a new building situated between the somatic and psychiatric departments at Aarhus University Hospital. The new construction will be the framework for new breakthrough in diagnostics and treatment of the diseases of the brain.
The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has made the architectural design and the construction work reflect the anatomical structure of the brain and its ability to establish connections.
The 19,000-squaremeter construction will be finished in 2026 and host approximately 500 researchers.
Danish Neuroscience Centre is financed by private donations.