The Brigham Building for the Future will bring physicians and scientists together in one building to pioneer medical breakthroughs in the neurosciences, orthopedics, immunology, arthritis, and allergies, and to translate those discoveries to patient care.
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” While Isaac Newton wrote this more than 300 years ago, it is an apt description for the medical breakthroughs achieved by the pioneering physicians and scientists of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).
Our giants are many: Three Nobel winners—two Medicine or Physiology and one Peace Prize. Four MacArthur “genius” grant recipients. The “father of modern neurosurgery.” The team that performed first successful organ transplant in the world. The leaders who conducted the first successful full face transplant in the United States. Our titans of medical science go back more than 180 years, and continue forward, blazing a bright horizon ahead of us.
Over the next three years, a new giant will emerge on the BWH campus, one of glass and steel reaching 11 stories above ground and three below (see architectural rendering above). This giant, the Brigham Building for the Future, will undoubtedly enable our physician-scientists to see further. In turn, these experts will be better positioned to unravel the causes of disease so they can provide the comprehensive, compassionate care BWH is known for, while finding cures to some of the greatest threats to human health.
One hundred years ago, the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital was erected behind Harvard Medical School so that its curious minds in science and medicine would never be too far from the laboratory bench. The Brigham Building of the Future takes that idea and adapts it for 21st century medicine: bringing our clinicians and scientists together in one building to tackle the toughest dilemmas in healthcare.
“This will be a translational research building,” explains BWH and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital President Betsy Nabel, MD. “That means that clinicians and researchers will be able to go from the lab bench to the bedside back to the bench.” With a focus on the neurosciences as well as orthopedics, arthritis, and rheumatology, the new building will be connected to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital campus via a glass-enclosed bridge and an underground tunnel.
“We work in a problem-rich environment here at the Brigham,” adds Barbara Bierer, MD, senior vice president of research for BWH. “With the Brigham Building for the Future, architects are collaborating with our caregivers and scientists to create a solution-rich environment.” Researchers and clinicians will be able to discuss complicated patient cases together to uncover elegant solutions for their treatment, fostering caring and curing in the same place.
Put plainly, translational research is science responding to clinical needs. It describes an environment where physicians and investigators work together to guide discoveries from their earliest forms to new treatments and therapies for patients. “That’s why moving the researchers and the patients into the same building is a profoundly translational act,” says Tom Sieniewicz, lead architect from the contracted design firm NBBJ. “The conversations that result will be the stimuli of innovation.”