University of Queensland Oral Health Center

  • area / size 307,309 sqft
  • Completed 2014
  • Location Brisbane, Australia,
  • Cox Architecture was engaged by the University of Queensland to design their Oral Health Center, a healthcare education facility located in Brisbane, Australia.

    The University of Queensland Oral Health Centre flanks a formal, sloping park which fronts the University’s Herston campus, adjoining the Royal Brisbane Hospital. The small campus is dominated by the Mayne Medical School, a heritage-listed 1930s neo-classical building.

    The site was formed by reinstating the park’s symmetrical relationship with the historic building, simultaneously providing the opportunity to activate the park which was formerly seldom utilized. For this reason, the primary circulation through the oral health building is along the park edge, accompanied by a series of social spaces that generate a series of crystalline forms.

    The building steps in section to accommodate the slope and to contain its briefed area within the height at the dome of the medical school. At its fourth level, the section coincides with the street along the frontage to the school from which access is gained into the hospital. This location in the building is designed as a sky lit breezeway, maintaining the connection while also creating a social heart to the campus that was previously lacking. The atrium is associated with a café, bookshop, digital library and recreational facilities.

    In response to its westerly aspect, much of the park elevation is protected by a ventilated façade system operating in two modes, one where rooms adjoin the façade and the other for circulation verandahs. Both modes utilize a double layer of glass with vertical Blackbutt timber blades between to screen direct sunlight. When sunlight is not on the façade, air is drawn up between the glazing and ventilated out via inter-floor grilles. When sunlight penetrates inside, the inner glass layer senses the heat and triggers blinds to descend. Hot air is trapped between the blind and the outer glazing, and exhausted out via the grilles. Apart from its functional role, the system of Blackbutt blades creates a visual relationship with the park’s forest of eucalypts.

    The Oral Health Centre comprises clinical simulation areas, pre-clinical laboratories, lecture and seminar rooms, and research laboratories over its seven levels. 187 dental chairs are distributed across 11 clinics servicing general dentistry, oral rehabilitation, pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, oral radiology, oral medicine, periodontics, endodontics and special needs dentistry. The centre also serves public patients, and links patient care with facilities in the Royal Brisbane Hospital.

    A primary emphasis of the design is to promote maximum interaction between the disciplines. This emphasis, together with the parkland setting, generated organic forms and spaces that depart from the rigid planning models that have historically characterized large specialist health learning and research facilities.

    ArchitectCox Architecture
    PhotographerChristopher Frederick Jones