Thornbury Family Dental

  • area / size 1,227 sqft
  • Completed 2017
  • Location Melbourne, Australia,
  • LAXSTUDIOS completed Thornbury Family Dental located in Melbourne, Australia with design elements quite different from your average dental office.

    The project redefines the perception and experience of the conventional dental office that is born out of necessity yet habitually associated with anxiety, phobia and pain.

    The barrier to a dental visit has often been exacerbated by the negative perception of the ‘unknown’, as well as the obscurity and overly clinical environment that is heightened by the abrupt exposure of needles, drills and bibs.

    The project dared to explore, with methodology adopted from the systematic desensitization used in dentistry; as a procedural method in reducing a patients’ anxiety through a gradual revelation of dental procedure, presented architecturally.

    Small tenancy lot, the design challenges are both to be different yet restrained to a conventional dental office in spatial configuration, dental procedural and technical requirements.

    Treating the dental treatment as gradual exposures of dental procedures and activities, the dental clinic tributes to a relax and humane environment that is similar to a park-like environment.

    The curved forms throughout the dental office’s ceiling are strategically shaped to conceal the overhead services while subtly forming spaces. As a guiding mechanism that coherently dialogue with the occupants’ navigation throughout the spaces.

    A sense of transition is introduced at the main entry by an overly arched ceiling form to emphasize its significance as a buffer zone from the hustle and bustle of the street-level traffic. The continuation is followed by a series of succeeding smaller curvatures in rhythm to the occupants’ movement.

    The purposely lowered reception table is intended to foster a more engaged conversation between the nurse and the patient where a treatment plan is discussed prior to convoy to one of the treatment pod.

    Placement of the planter box and vertical plants along the ramp are to subtly compensate for the variation in floor levels. The vertical plants, a semi-transparent organic garden, enables a visual engagement preludes to the dialogue between the incoming patient and dentist.

    Intended to encapsulate both the dentist and patient, the glass pods are purposely shaped in circular forms. The in-between spaces created are opportunistically interweaved with the ancillary spaces forming an agile workspace.

    Behind the glass pods are layers of retractable curtains that offer acousticity to the interior yet create a backdrop of the dental activities from within. There is a story board that is being vaguely narrated and hinted at; a “tell-show-do” physiological method enabling the reduction of anticipatory anxiety of those awaiting, by curating a sense of readiness.

    Architect: LAXSTUDIOS
    Photography: Lucas Lau