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Architecture | Healthcare Architecture

Oakridge Dental Center

M1DTW Architects

Short description

Oakridge Dental Center transcends the banality of a typical dental office by creating a unique and calming spatial experience for its patients and staff. The stand-alone dental office establishes an engaging interplay between interior and exterior, accentuated by the meditative movement of daylight. The design encourages a spa-like experience achieved within a constrained budget and in proximity to a busy traffic circle. The unfenestrated north façade serves as a visual buffer to conceal the parking lot from the reception area, which is illuminated by skylights. Thoughtfully placed window openings in several sizes punctuate the south and west façades, sculpting dappled light within the building.

From the white brick exterior, the equally proportioned, dark-frame windows produce a rhythmic compositional effect while simultaneously concealing the repetitive dental operatory units inside. Norman-sized face brick with a soft-white, mineral paint finish gives the building a muted presence from afar that transforms to reveal a textured tactility as one approaches. The main entrance, situated on the northeast corner, draws visitors into a wood-clad recess in the office’s simple box-like form. This quiet portion of the site announces entry and provides shelter.

The interior character, in contrast, surrenders to materiality and color. A white oak wood lining within the vestibule transitions to the floor in the waiting area. A matte, richly painted blue defines the sterilization and lab spaces, and distinguishes the operatories. Design makes strategic use of support spaces to maintain a compact footprint and preserve the generous qualities in publicly experienced areas while ensuring staff have access to natural light throughout their work day. Moving around the core, one experiences portals of daylight from the perimeter and above in a choreographed series of interactions with nature—a sentient, animated alternative to the landscape artwork one might be accustomed to seeing within a typical dental office.

Entry details
LocationRochester Hills, MI USA
Lead designerChristian Unverzagt
Design teamThomas Affeldt, Project Architect; Kerry Conway, Project Team; Genevieve Doman, Project Team
Photography creditsCourtesy M1DTW Architects. Photo: Nev Muftari, Jeffrey Kilmer
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