Many people find going to the dentist to be one of the more stressful and unsettling experiences we have to face in life - and the white, sterilized dental surgery rooms do not ease the situation. Seeking to turn this paradigm on its head, David Sheppard Architects created a relaxing woodland dental practice that incorporates local materials while blending in with Devon’s luscious countryside. Dubbed Brown’s Dental Practice, the project was recently awarded with this year’s RIBA Award.
Situated within the quiet town of Ivybridge in Britain’s southwestern corner, Brown’s Dental Practice is not your average dentists office. Designed by David Sheppard Architects using local materials like stone, wood and glass, the double-height dental practice blends perfectly with the surrounding environment. The project was also recently awarded with this year’s RIBA Award.
The outside of the building features two contrasting sides – one made from local stone walls, and the other from rough-cut sweet chestnut planks, which were air-dried in a barn for four months and painted with pigment from an ebony-colored steel that was left to rust in water for weeks.
The dental surgery center also features a green sloping sedum roof that follows the topography of the site and a range of photovoltaic panels that produce renewable energy used by the lights and machines. The architect worked very hard to balance the patients’ requirement for privacy with the practitioners’ need for an airy light-filled workspace — they decided to let natural light come in through skylights, while big airy windows provide calming views of the green countryside to inspire tranquillity.
The clinic’s interiors are made from panelled birch plywood with continuous rubber floors. They have been insulated within another local, biodegradable material – sheep’s wool – which brings warmth to the building while creating a close connection to the project’s beautiful and green setting.
Photos © Joakim Boren