The Neurosciences Institute campus is located on Torrey Pines Mesa in La Jolla, California, which emerged in the 1990s as one of the world's leading centers for biomedical discovery. It is bordered by The Scripps Research Institute and Scripps Clinic to the west, The Burnham Institute to the north, the University of California, San Diego to the south, and numerous biotechnology and pharmaceutical research companies to the east and in the immediate surrounding area.
When seeking an architect, Dr. Gerald Edelman, the director of the Institute, sought a style that would reflect his vision of a scientific monastery where creative study of the brain could be conducted with few constraining rules and unlimited opportunities for discovery and communication. The Neurosciences Institute's poetic architecture creates a physical environment that nurtures the Institute's unique scientific sociology and adds to the effective exchanges between researchers in theoretical and experimental neuroscience. New York architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien turned Edelman's vision into an elegant reality with a design that for over a decade has nurtured scientific inquiry in an environment conducive to both private reflection and interactive exchange among scientists from different disciplines.
The campus is composed of three distinct buildings, each with its own fascinating design but all complementing and connecting with each other by walkways and a central plaza. The daily activities of the Institute are conducted in the Theory Center and the Walsh Family Laboratories. Theoretical and experimental research space, administrative support, and common areas are located in these buildings.
The Auditorium is designed to accommodate both scientific lectures and musical concerts. Noted acoustician Cyril Harris worked with Tod Williams and Billie Tsien to create the 352-seat Auditorium. Considered to be among the most acoustically impressive small performance halls in the United States, the Auditorium has an original system of faceted, sound dispersing plaster panels that covers its walls and ceiling. Artists and audiences unequivocally confirm that the same sound is heard in every seat. As a community service, the Auditorium is made available without charge for use by select not-for-profit performing arts and educational organizations.