The $126 million redevelopment of the University of Otago’s Dental School aims to reflect the faculty’s status as one of the world’s leading tertiary training providers. Jasmax were commissioned in partnership with local Dunedin architects Parker Warburton and Sydney-based Brewster Hjorth Architects, to deliver a new integrated clinical, teaching and research facility within the University’s existing site.
The design team are currently in the process of completing detailed design for an 8,000sqm new build which will connect to the rear of the Dental School’s existing 10,000sqm Walsh building. Key to the project is creating a cohesive language between these buildings, connecting new with old, to ensure an ease of navigation for patients, staff and students alike.
The Walsh Building is the home of the current facility, with a Category 1 Heritage Building, it is an exemplar of early modern architecture within New Zealand. Its facade is synonymous both with the University and the Dental School. As such, it was an imperative for wayfinding to retain it as the main entry into the building, whilst also preserving it. To achieve this, the masterplan connects the new and refurbished buildings by an atrium, utilising glazed walls to provide sightlines from the existing building, through to the new clinical and training building erected behind.
The new facility will house clinical services featuring an innovative surgery design for general practice dentistry together with a variety of specialist dental clinics. Undergraduate and Postgraduate teaching facilities will include over 200 new dental chairs, the largest dental installation in New Zealand.
These chairs will be distributed across 11 clinics ranging from general practice dentistry, orthodontics, paediatrics, special needs, radiology, primary care and oral surgery, all of which will operate off a digital platform.
The existing Walsh building will house flexible learning spaces, dentistry-specific teaching laboratories, academic accommodation and a new home for the Sir John Walsh Research Institute; a research facility that is dedicated to research of Oral Health.
Environmental performance of the School has been a major consideration of the design. The Category 1 Heritage Building will receive a replica high performance facade, while a focus on energy savings, through mechanisms such as heat recovery through the atrium space, LED lighting and heat transfer steam generation, will all work to improve efficiencies; as well as the incorporation of biophillic design principles.
With the first new building set to commence construction in the 3rd quarter of 2016, it was determined early on in the project that existing buildings on the campus would need to be demolished to make way for new, more flexible facilities. As such, Parker Warburton have undertaken a major decant project to relocate the faculty’s accommodation, working to ensure minimal disruption to its operations. In an unexpected turn of events, the demolition of one of these buildings, the University’s Barningham Building, has uncovered an unprecedented archaeological find in the centre of Dunedin.