Dietmar Feichtinger Architects

Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes

Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes

Institute of Neuroscience
Saclay | 
France – 



Start of construction

04 | 2016


16 653 m²

Construction budget

34.39 M€

Competition winner



03 | 2020
Prix Versailles 2021

Together with Neurospin, the new Institute of Neurosciences forms a major scientific complex dedicated to brain research, called NeuroSaclay on the Saclay Plateau.

The new building is closely linked to Neurospin. This relationship is embodied by a connecting axis around which unfolds a large square called the Forum. The Forum serves as a place for scientists to meet and interact, and represents an ethos of openness, dialogue and hospitality.

At the campus scale, the building integrates with the historic layout of the CEA site, based on the orthogonal grid designed by Auguste Perret. The Institute’s larger volume adopts this characteristic orientation, fitting seamlessly into the vast site, while its base interacts with the various nearby geometries and green spaces.

The generous hall facing the Forum and directly opposite the mein entrance of Neurospin, naturally emphasizing the connection between the two buildings. Visitor and public functions are accommodated in a triangular volume connected to the hall. Covered outdoor areas provide transitions between the natural and the built environment.

The research institute is organized around the three key units: Animal Housing, Research Centers and Platforms, and a Reception and Communication area for outside audiences.

The two scientific components (animal facilities and research) each have strong specific requirements and constraints. The design responds with a clear and rigorous organization.

Research hubs are spread across the three elevated levels. Each research level is structured around the three patios, with pathways placed around them, forming a true network – essential for interdisciplinary exchanges. This design converges everyone towards the landscaped heart of the institute. Inter-floor relations are facilitated by naturally-lit staircases overlooking the inner gardens. The working conditions for researchers are optimal, with natural light being complemented by effective external sun blinds.

The research hubs connect with the animal facilities, located on the ground floor and in the basement. To further minimize cross-movements, a major contamination source in animal facilities, behavioral spaces are closely tied to the rodent facility.
The façade of the upper floors is finished in white enameled opaque glass. The drawn pattern makes the façade lively. The posts between the openings are treated alternately with white and black enameled glass, redefining the larger glass units.
The rhythm of the openings is based on a 1m20 grid, including 60cm posts every 2m40, providing maximum flexibility in the design of the interior needs of the space.

Thanks to the absence of structural barriers, a consistent façade grid and the ability to accommodate laboratories or offices without major modifications, or through reserves of space and technical shafts, the project promises true adaptability.

Lead Architect: Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes, mandate
Partner Architect: Celnikier & Grabli Architectes
Structural Consultant: Ingerop

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