Floating In Space

Young Dental Centre + Kidz - Teeth, Meadowbank

The brief was to design a dental surgery that offered specialist care and facilities on a site that had a variety of residential and zoning restrictions. The site had already been developed and subdivided
which presented further restrictions. This required very careful planning, design and engineering,
a discretionary resource consent from council and approval from adjoining property owners.

Design Development

The subdivision was approved based on landscaped area complying over two lots. As the adjoining lot was already developed, impermeable area on this site was highly restricted. Car parking needed to be under the building and utilised the R.O.W. to access carparks. To achieve this, the building had to be supported on pillars between each second carpark and half the building cantilevered to provide manoeuvring space from the driveway.

Effectively the building was balanced on central columns and beams carrying the full weight of the building. A light-weight metal roof was essential to minimize the weight of the building, seismic bracing and torsional loads as there are no supporting walls under one half of the building. The design concept would not have been possible without minimizing column and beam sizes maximizing headroom under beams. Footing size and pile depth was also reduced and the combination of these factors resulted in cost efficiencies and

The building forms part of Meadowbank shopping centre with residences to the side and rear. The pergola form relates to the adjacent flat roofed medical practice, while the high gabled building, inspired by the church opposite, also reflects neighbouring gabled residences. Existing trees were retained and the front landscaped to fit the surroundings and residential zone context. Building levels provided R.O.W. access, complied with residential restrictions and minimized excavation.

As a public building requires disabled access, a sloping pathway (ramp) was designed within the entry landscaping avoiding the cost of lifts. A carpark for the disabled accesses the ramp with periodic landings.

The path also leads from the footpath and its sweeping curves create an attractive entry through the landscaped garden.

The design creates visual impact from the street but stays within the residential context. To achieve this, the building was divided with reception and waiting room in front with a high pitched roofline, and a curved roof was draped over the rear dental surgery facilities.

A heavy timber pergola over the entry provides visual interest leading to the bright and cheerful reception
with plenty of natural light from large windows and skylights. The reception forms part of the waiting room that provides a comfortable and spacious area for patients to relax. In addition there is a glazed play area as the practice specialises in children’s dental care.

Above the reception is a mezzanine common room for staff to meet and unwind. This is a very pleasant, informal retreat with a curved internal balcony, beams and extensive views to both front and rear providing a change from exacting dentistry in hygienic surgeries.

The surgery behind has a lower curved roof providing a reduced residential scale and form in keeping with the descending landform and houses behind avoiding shading. It is not seen from the frontage. It also allowed an air conditioning plant to be hidden behind the front foyer roof.

The lightweight coloured steel metal roofing was an essential part of the design reducing weight and structural costs. The same roofing was used on both the high and curved roof sections.

The dental surgery was planned in conjunction with the unique needs of both paediatric and general clients. Two surgeries for each dentist allows the dentists to examine one patient while the second surgery is prepared for the next client. Service rooms are located to suit work flow and access from surgeries.
Layout, room size and function were determined with considerable input and consultation with the owners
who drew from their personal experiences in hospitals and surgeries.

Overall this project provides innovative solutions to numerous issues related to the site’s context and residential zone restrictions. It is the result of architecture and engineering working together to resolve design problems in an attractive, effective and functional way.

Some of these include:

-> the entry/waiting/office area has a high pitched roof & ceiling on laminated timber portals for aesthetics and structure of the mezzanine staff area.

-> the surgery area utilises curved timber trusses and metal roof.

-> a wooden suspended floor used Posistrut joists between steel beams to allow for services and commercial loadings.

-> concrete block walls resist lateral and torsional loads while retaining entry ramp filling.

-> compact circular steel carpark columns with beams carrying the cantilever. These tapered at the end providing headroom above the sloping vehicle access.

-> bridging footings over council sewers.


Architects Engineers and Planners are a ‘one stop design shop’ for anyone wanting a home or commercial premises built. The company provides integrated design solutions including architecture, resource management and structural, civil, fire, geotechnical and drainage engineering.

Over many years Apcon Paterson Ltd has completed a wide variety of projects. Most work is in the greater Auckland area.

Architect: Apcon Paterson Ltd.
Telephone: 09 620 9099
Mobile: 021 156 3814

Engineer : Apcon Paterson Ltd

Builder: C.J. Tilley Ltd
Telephone: 09 479 7736

Roofing: COLORSTEEL® EnduraTM