Indiana University School of Dentistry
The Indiana University School of Dentistry, the only dental school in the state, serves an important mission to train future dental professionals who will provide quality oral health care for the state of Indiana and beyond. The school in its current location has grown incrementally over the years into a complex of three buildings – dating from the 1930s to the 1970s – that had become out of date and limited the School’s ability to achieve its mission. SmithGroup, in collaboration with local firm, Ratio Architects, was charged with creating new patient treatment center for the 21st century. The new center would be housed in a technically advanced addition that would unify the existing buildings while presenting a new identity of fresh academic vitality commensurate with the school’s growth plans and aspirations.
One of the biggest opportunities that our team envisioned was to make vast improvements in the overall flow of patients, staff, students, faculty and materials through strategically located connections to the existing buildings. The three-story 46,000 SF clinical addition not only presents a new face for the school by re-orienting the main patient entrance but radically improves the patient experience with 125 new patient treatment operatories and spacious new patient waiting rooms and registration areas. The addition is to the east of the existing buildings. It presents itself with an elegant glass curtain wall that is more than just aesthetics – it allows abundant natural light for clinical areas, student study areas and patient venues. Upper floors of the new wing connect to existing buildings by glass walkways, and the four buildings together form an internal courtyard for rest and respite for patients, students and faculty.
Just as the new addition connects a disparate group of buildings into a holistic complex, the Indiana University School of Dentistry connects to both the immediate Indianapolis community but also to the school’s ambitious global-engagement initiatives, both stated IUPUI campus goals. Competition for top international academic talent, for example, is intense. This addition provides a physical plant consistent with the school’s concept of itself as a major U.S. dental school leader. “The new James J. Fritts, DDS Clinical Care Center with its technological infrastructure and improved public flow corridors has positioned the IU dental school to be one of the best of the 21st century,” said Dr. John N. Williams dental school dean. “Working with our architectural partners, SmithGroup and Ratio, was a pleasure because they listened to our dreams and aspirations to incorporate building elements which positions the school for greater success tomorrow.
The finished result is nothing less than a new eco-system for the school, with four buildings joined elegantly and rationally together and serving students, faculty and patients alike.