Brainpark Neuroscience Research Clinic, Monash University

With­in Monash Uni­ver­si­ty, Brain­park brings the often-dis­parate indus­tries of sci­ence, tech­nol­o­gy and well­ness into har­mo­nious bal­ance to cre­ate an invit­ing research facil­i­ty. Con­tribut­ing to an ongo­ing study into brain plas­tic­i­ty, the design encour­ages par­tic­i­pants to under­take var­i­ous phys­i­cal and men­tal exer­cis­es aimed at repro­gram­ming neur­al path­ways to alter neg­a­tive com­pul­sive behaviours.

Locat­ed in a pri­vate sec­tion of an exist­ing build­ing, users are intro­duced to five key mind and body activ­i­ties upon entry. Each activ­i­ty is giv­en an ele­ment of intrigue to encour­age explo­ration. The vir­tu­al real­i­ty room exudes hi-tech’ with its neon matrix, inspired by Tron. The spin room inte­grates an immer­sive 180-degree screen to trans­form into any envi­ron­ment, the con­tem­pla­tive med­i­ta­tion room frames the sky, the sleek gym pumps out vital infor­ma­tion and the plush cog­ni­tive rooms offer a pri­vate moment for concentration.

Spa­tial­ly, the lay­out is flu­id with over­lap­ping rhythms of tim­ber, steel and mir­ror, visu­al­ly elud­ing to the com­plex plas­tic­i­ty of the neur­al path­ways being researched. The low­er lev­el con­nects the body, and the upper lev­el the mind.

Exten­sive analy­sis was under­tak­en to under­stand research par­tic­i­pants’ par­tic­u­lar needs, fears, trig­gers, and how design could inspire their ongo­ing com­mit­ment to the pro­gram. From this, spaces were designed with con­sid­er­a­tion for com­fort, pri­va­cy, and to empha­sise the con­nec­tion between mind, body and envi­ron­ment. Pro­grams con­stant­ly link to the exter­nal envi­ron­ment lead­ing to plant­ed gardens.

Inter­ac­tive design fea­tures play a key role in trans­lat­ing sci­en­tif­ic data into an immer­sive user expe­ri­ence. A cen­tral brain light-sculp­ture trans­lates data gen­er­at­ed from var­i­ous activ­i­ties to show the parts of the brain being exer­cised, track changes, and ulti­mate­ly pro­vide par­tic­i­pants with tan­gi­ble information.

Brain­park sup­ports vol­un­tary par­tic­i­pa­tion in sci­en­tif­ic research by com­bin­ing com­fort and cut­ting-edge tech­nol­o­gy with real-time biofeed­back into a sleek, relaxed environment.

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