University of Melbourne Centre for Neural Engineering

The project is a new integrated centre for research that co-locates computational and electrical engineering with the biological sciences (mainly Neuroscience) devised for the study of neural networks. Research conducted in the facility will enhance understanding of human behaviour, central nervous system disease, and enable more effective design of human-machine interfaces (bionic ear and bionic eye design).

The CfNE project has been conceived as a showroom-like space for displaying the integration of the various research activities of the physical and life sciences. Also included is a new PC2 laboratory, psychophysics booths, an electronic workshop, collaborative meeting spaces, conference and office accommodation. The design seeks to blur the boundaries between laboratory, workshop, specialist and office space, into a collaborative research environment.

Upon entry a bluestone pedestal supports the co-located field of knowledge, like a new urban institution of knowledge. The elongated entry steps enhance the experience of traversing up to the pedestal on the diagonal. The ceiling is a three dimensional translation of the spike trains that are used in the computational analysis of neuronal code.

Three dimensional spike trains are projected into a two dimensional condition on the fašade with visual aberrations that highlight the experience of visual cognition as a neuronal process. The fašade is wrapped down to the ground to provide an urban corner consistent with adjacent buildings and to emphasise the shop-front nature of the facility.