FROM THE AIA:
The client for this family-run orthodontics practice wanted an open, airy space to maximize patient comfort and staff efficiency on a minimal budget. A hundred-year-old storefront and warehouse on Main Street in Waltham, MA was gutted, creating open plan reception and treatment areas flanked by semi-private offices, toothbrushing stations, exam rooms, and a staff coffee area. The main design move -- a two-story curving, translucent wall framing the ortho bay treatment area -- funnels natural light down from skylights above improving staff and patient experiences. CNC-fabricated and constructed by the architect, the wall creates a well-lit and engaging environment for high-quality and friendly patient care. The existing building's awkward jumble of showroom and warehouse spaces accessed via a central neo-classical entry was reconfigured to accommodate a more comfortable, asymmetrical entry and efficient clinical flow. The existing brick was painted charcoal and the applied facade was removed and replaced with a new fiber-cement-clad box with a bright green wood wrapper framing new storefront windows looking into the reception and waiting areas. This new facade re-brands an existing building with bright, engaging graphics that continue as wayfinding iconography throughout the space.
Materials, graphics, color palette, lighting, and form combine with an elegant use of space to energize this gem of a small office fit-out. It is both creative and restrained in a pleasing way. It is appropriately named as the design uses light to define the form in a way that is specifically relevant from the patient’s perspective. The translucent wall is a very dramatic backdrop for a very simply organized plan. This is an impressive example of what can be achieved on a very limited budget within the restrictive framework of an existing building. The design demonstrates an exemplary commitment to implementing a strong concept within tight constraints.