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Indian designs MIT's research centre

The stunning architectural design by veteran architect Charles Correa will be world's largest neuroscience centre.

world Updated: Nov 06, 2005 12:30 IST

Veteran Indian architect and urban planner Charles Correa has designed yet another marvel, the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, opened recently at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

MIT's new 411,000-square-ft brain and cognitive sciences complex, to be dedicated on December 2, will be the largest neuroscience centre in the world.

The breathtaking architectural design for the entire state-of-the-art research facility, which will house the laboratories of 16 global leaders in neuroscience, is a collaborative effort of Boston-based Goody, Clancy and Associates, and the Charles Correa Associates of Mumbai.

Secunderabad-born and Mumbai-based Correa, 75, who studied architecture at the MIT and the University of Michigan, is known for a wide-range of his architectural work in India and on urbanisation and low-cost shelter in the Third World, which he articulated in his 1985 publication, The New Landscape.

His architectural designs have been internationally acclaimed and he has received many awards, including Padma Shri in 1972, the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal in 1984 and the International Union of Architects Gold Medal in 1990.

Correa's work covers a wide range, from the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial at the Sabarmati Ashram, to the Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur, and the State Assembly for Madhya Pradesh -- as well as townships and housings projects in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and other cities in India.

The centre, which would house the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, was created by the largest philanthropic gift in MIT history --$350 million over 20 years -- courtesy Patrick J McGovern and his wife, Lore Harp McGovern. Patrick McGovern is the founder of International Data Group, the publisher of Bio-IT World, and an MIT alumnus.

The opening celebration on Friday was marked by speeches from Senator John Kerry, NBC News' Jane Pauley, Nobel laureates Eric Kandel and Philip Sharp and Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe.

Kerry called the event "a celebration of generosity, of vision, and of possibilities in the future."

McGovern Institute Director Robert Desimone said the institute is "the realisation of a dream (the McGoverns) worked so hard for these past five years."

The McGovern Institute was created at the start of this new century, "With a mandate to lead the world into a new era of systems neuroscience, the study of brain systems and behaviour," said Desimone.

"What sets the McGovern Institute apart is not just a commitment to systems neuroscience but also the talent and teamwork of 12 world-class scientists. This is a scientific collaboration at the highest level," he said.

Patrick McGovern Jr, founder and chairman of IDG, said in a release: "I am hopeful that the scientific research done at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research can make significant contributions to advancing human learning and communication within the next 20 years."