FIRST LOOK: The Center for BrainHealth’s Brain Performance Institute
Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas, has not only imagined a world where we take as much interest in the health of our brains as we do the rest of our bodies, but has spent her career researching ways that anyone—from children to seniors to healthy people to those with traumatic brain injuries—can improve their brain function.
Chapman’s goal of translating the center’s research into programs that help people is coming to fruition as construction of the The Center for BrainHealth’s Brain Performance Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas begins in Dallas.
Scheduled to open in spring 2017, the 62,000-square-foot facility will be the first in the world to focus on leveraging scientifically validated programs and assessments in order to maximize and extend brain performance, increase brain resilience, and improve brain regeneration. Page is handling architecture, interiors, and MEP engineering on the project, while Turner Construction Co. serves as general contractor.
The building’s iconic elliptical design was inspired by the frontal lobe of the brain, which is responsible for some of the brain’s most complex activities. The façade envelopes the ellipse and features a rhythmic pattern of solid and void panels inspired by an EEG strip, which is generated from an electroencephalogram that tracks and records brain wave patterns.
The Brain Performance Institute’s varied participants span from adolescents to seniors and range from middle school students to athletes to members of the military and their families. A dedicated Warriors’ Lounge offers a quiet retreat, maintaining a view of the main lobby and grand staircase without impinging on a current or former service member’s desire for feelings of privacy and security.
Providing access to light and nature played an important part in the design, as did considering how people would work and collaborate. Exterior greenspace and interactive zones are located throughout the site to encourage both healing and reactivation.
Training spaces along the exterior of the building maximize daylighting and a connection to the outdoors, while classrooms on the first level open up to a healing garden designed for yoga and meditation. The space optimizes brain performance by creating private, concentrated work areas for uninterrupted, individual deep-thinking tasks, separate from collaborative work spaces.
Flexible, modular office spaces will allow for adaptability as the program grows and changes.
The upper levels include additional training rooms, internet cafes, and a variety of touchdown workspaces for visitors and family members. Other elements include a virtual reality lab and telepresence room that enable interactive training sessions to be broadcast worldwide. Cutting-edge transformative research will be generated within the MRI imaging clinic, which can be directly applied in the training programs on the floors above.
Designed to dispel myths surrounding brain disorders, a goal for the Brain Performance Institute is to help make The University of Texas at Dallas a destination for brain research and innovation in the world.