by Sebastian Schmaling
Bayshore Dental was a very special project for us – it was the first dental clinic that we designed. Dr. Patel had seen our design work for other commercial and residential clients and believed that our aesthetics and sensibilities would align really well with the ambitious vision she had set for her dental office, so she hired us, despite the fact that we were novices in the field of dental office design.
“Why should a space in which a patient waits or undergoes treatments should feel any less welcoming or be any less tastefully furnished, than a private living room or a boutique or a restaurant.”
We were looking for a design fundamentally different from what most dental offices in the United States look like and interested in developing an architecture that would truly offer an alternative to the uninspired environments that marks so much of American healthcare design. We asked ourselves why a space in which a patient waits or undergoes treatments should feel any less welcoming or be any less tastefully furnished, any less carefully composed, or any worse lit, than a private living room or a boutique or a restaurant. And we quickly determined that the strict healthcare codes requiring antiseptic, easily cleanable surfaces or regulations governing issues of patient privacy were by no means detrimental to creating an inviting and aesthetically ambitious interior environment.
Even though this was our first array into the design of a medical facility, the project was awarded with a 2017 National Healthcare Design Award from the American Institute of Architects, one of the highest recognitions for
healthcare-related architecture in the United States.
From the very beginning of the design process, we approached the planning of the clinic with two goals in mind: to facilitate efficient workflow patterns, and to create an environment that would make patients feel “at home.” The overall layout of patient rooms, laboratories, sanitary infrastructure, and staff offices was informed by optimized procedural strategies. As a result, the individual operatories were all grouped along one side of a centrally located corridor, with the supporting spaces such as sanitizing rooms, labs, and file rooms located on the other side of the corridor. The design of that central circulation spine required an extraordinary amount of attention. In order to avoid what could easily have become a claustrophobic, artificially lit “tunnel”, we allowed daylight from the floorto- ceiling windows of the operatories to filter into the corridor through large sliding glass doors, their translucent surfaces essentially working as backlit canvases within the space.