Tag Archives: Orthodontics

Dr. Judah Garfinkle Orthodontics a 2015 Design Is…Award Market Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms representing Market-Award winning projects from the 2015 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn more about the winning projects.  These are their stories.

Here, Alyson Pierce addresses the design process for Dr. Judah Garfinkle in Portland, OR.


Describe this project in one word.


How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

This project was largely based on the doctor’s charismatic personality and legacy in his profession. Dr. Judah Garfinkle’s objective was to build a state of the art facility which incorporated his family’s rich history in orthodontics and his modern approach of practice. His family’s connection to New York and his love for Portland also played a major role in coming up with the concept of New York meets the NW. We took advantage of the wooded scenery with picturesque windows and panoramic views. The design decision was made to add a layer of transparency to promote the transference of natural light throughout the clinic. The design team also incorporated a seamless glass entry, clear glass sliders, and frosted glass panels in the clinic to further achieve inner illumination.

The doctor wanted his modern aesthetic and energetic personality to also be translated in the design with bright pops of color, speakers pumping out music, and his signature, a bowtie. The front desk design came together by visiting a warehouse with reclaimed wood, and choosing the juniper slab that would be the show piece of the reception area while the white subway tile with dark grout reflects his love for New York. Also integral to the design was the combination of carpet that was used. Since we wanted to achieve a sense of movement and energy throughout the space, incorporating Blur and Overlay carpet tiles was the perfect design solution. Both carpets have a gradation to them that when installed, look like flashes of yellow light. Strategically placed pops of the Colour Plank tile in Saxony Blue reinforced the movement throughout the space.


Design is a process. Explain your journey.

The 3,400 square foot space required a complete remodel and gut of several vacant suites. The challenging mixture of spaces and L-shaped space was initially thought to be a constraint however the design team was able to take advantage this by creating separate work areas for staff and clinic areas for patients.

Understanding the needs of the staff and optimizing the patient experience were key elements that were emphasized in all phases and ultimately contributed to the success of this project. Thoughtful space planning and placement of patient and staff areas allow patients to move through the clinic effectively while staff remain functional. Wider circulation was implemented, to avoid potential bottle necking at check-in and check-out areas as well as an open treatment bay to maximize the exposure to nature, and to avoid feeling claustrophobic. Due to the ceiling height constraints, the design focused on inset panels of timber to create interest on all plains, and to bring the Northwest outdoors in. Not only is the clinic a fun and memorable space for younger clientele to visit but it is also a modern and efficient space to work in.


What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?

Collaboration and communication are extremely important in a job as technical as Dr. Judah Garfinkle’s. The design-build process really lends itself well in these situations because solutions are often found before a problem has surfaced. Collaboration between the designers and contractor, was key to the success of this remodel.

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