Groundbreaking ceremony heralds construction of Israel's largest brain research center, one of world's most ambitious

Rendering of new brain sciences building (courtyard view) to house the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (Image: Foster + Partners/Hebrew University)March 6, 2013: A groundbreaking ceremony will take place tomorrow (March 7) at the site of a new building to house the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Designed by the British architectural firm Foster + Partners, the new building will be home to the largest neuroscience center in Israel and one of the most ambitious in the world. Construction of the new building is slated to begin within the next few months.

The ceremony will honor the Charles H. Goodman family, and will also include Hebrew University President Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, ELSC Director Prof. Eilon Vaadia and other members of the Center, and architects Spencer De Grey and Darron Haylock of Foster + Partners. The ceremony will take place at the Hebrew University's Edmond J. Safra Campus.

Established in 2009, the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Science (ELSC) brings together a powerful interdisciplinary team of top scientists working to revolutionize current neuroscience research. This collaboration will contribute to worldwide progress in brain science and further establish the Hebrew University as one of the world’s leading neuroscience centers.

The new building, to be located at the Edmond J. Safra Campus in the heart of Jerusalem, represents Foster + Partners’ first project in Israel. Foster + Partners will work with the Jerusalem architectural firm of Baer, Shifman-Nathan Architects, headed by architects Yuval Baer and Galit Shifman-Nathan, and with architect Zadok Sherman.

The 14,500 square-meter building will include state-of-the-art labs, classrooms, an innovative imaging center and areas for biological and pre-clinical research. Significant emphasis will be placed on constructing an environmentally friendly building with a focus on conserving energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Hebrew University President Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson said, "This is one of the University's largest and most significant projects in the coming years. Without the involvement of our donors, in particular the Edmond J. Safra Foundation and the family of Corky Goodman, this project would not have come to fruition."

Hebrew University Vice-President and Director-General Billy Shapira said, ''This project will be an important contribution to the Hebrew University and the city of Jerusalem. The building will become a magnet for the scientific community and the general public, who will see an architectural masterpiece that displays the innovation and progress that characterize the university.''

Prof. Eilon Vaadia, the Jack H. Skirball Professor of Brain Research and Director of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences, said, ''This is another step towards our vision of building an advanced research center that will provide the best technological infrastructure for researchers in brain science. As a result, we will be able to continue recruiting outstanding scientists and training the next generation of graduate students in our unique PhD program.''

British architect Norman Foster founded Foster + Partners in 1967. Lord Foster has been internationally recognized for his work, which reflects a commitment to environmental issues and sustainable design. Some of his most famous designs include the Millennium Bridge in London, City Hall in London, the Hearst Tower in New York, and Beijing airport — the largest single building on the planet. The firm's projects have won the RIBA Stirling Prize and Lord Foster was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1999.

Source: Dept. Media Relations, Hebrew University

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