Dental complex design in Quebec relies on ‘minimal means for maximum effects’

A new dental complex in Longueuil, Que., embodies the philosophy ‘minimal means for maximum effects’, using ultra-clear glass curtain walls to let in natural light and biophilic views to help reduce psychophysiological stress of patients, and create a distinct, and transparent architectural monument for outsiders.

Studio Jean Verville architects designed the 2,600-m2 (27,900-sf) Clinique dentaire St-Charles in the borough of Vieux-Longueuil, situated between its residential and commercial areas, on a piece of land left uncultivated for many years. General contractor Solidem Entrepreneur Général Inc, structural engineer Geniex, and civil engineer InGang Design were some of the other firms involved in the project.

Responding to the needs of the client—mainly to have a light and airy clinic—the studio favoured a simple intervention based on the ingenious use of materials and meticulously executed construction methods. Clinique dentaire St-Charles presents an architecture highlighting the green spaces and activities of adjacent Catherine-Primot Park, as well as the urban vitality of this coveted sector of the City of Longueuil.

The ultra-clear glass of the curtain walls is layered with high-performance low-emissivity film, which lets the clinic be bathed in light for a soothing atmosphere. Transparency creates visual permeability on both the green and urban environment, with seasonal changes and weather moods, as well as pedestrian flows, providing benefits for both clients and the clinic team. In correlation, a permanent connection with the exterior also provides an openness on the professional activities and interactions taking place inside the clinic. The key motif in the design is the breaking up of the space into multiple frames, dominated by whiteness to create a poetic impact, enhanced by the presence of light and shadow and views of nature. At night, when illuminated, the complex serves as a landmark demarking the entrance to the bustling commercial area of Vieux-Longueuil.

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