Inside Festival 2015: Casey Vallance of Cox Rayner Architects explains how the firm used natural materials to create a calming environment inside a dentist training facility in Brisbane, Australia, in this exclusive movie.
Cox Rayner Architects won the Health and Education category at Inside Festival 2015 for the University of Queensland Oral Health Centre, an education facility for dentistry students.
"We were told early on by the professors at the university that there is a very high anxiety associated with the dentistry profession," Cox Rayner Architects director Vallance explains in the film. "We looked at ways to reduce that."
The Australian architecture firm took advantage of the site's location adjacent to a park to create a welcoming entrance and reception area for the facility, Casey says.
"We really wanted to change the experience of arriving at a healthcare centre," he explains.
"While the building adjoins a hospital, we positioned the entrances into the clinic and reception areas directly off the park."
Stone floors and wood panelling on the walls and ceilings were used to create a relationship between the building interior and the park outside.
"We looked at the natural environment of the park and thought how we could incorporate materials from that landscape," Vallance says. "We used timber species found within the park and stone to create a much more relaxed environment."
Vallance says his team approached the design of the reception areas as if they were living rooms.
"We really wanted to change the scale from a very large open-plan environment to a far more intimate and personal space," he explains. "We looked at creating a calming environment for the patients as they arrive."
For the main teaching spaces, Vallance says the key was striking a balance between an environment that feels intimate for patients with one that allows students and teachers to observe operations.
To achieve this, Cox Rayner Architects created a series of glass cubicles, with each one set out like a small private clinic.
"Typically you'd have 30 to 40 chairs within one space," he says. "We changed that to a one-on-one experience, a single chair within a room."
He continues: "But it's a teaching facility, so clear observation and safety needed to be considered. Hence the use of glass for transparency, but in a far more relaxed environment."
This movie was produced by Dezeen for Inside Festival. It was filmed at Inside Festival 2015 in Singapore. All photography used in the movie and this story is by Christopher Frederick Jones, unless otherwise stated.
Inside Festival 2015 took place in Singapore from 4 to 6 November, alongside partner event World Architecture Festival. Dezeen is media partner for both events, and is publishing video interviews with all the category winners.