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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Comfort Zones

Intuitive architecture is designed to divide buildings and spaces into zones. These segments of space provide clues, usually unconsciously, as to the purpose of the areas and space around you.

For example, when you enter a typical home, you’re greeted by an entryway or vestibule with a lower ceiling. Lower ceilings have a cozier effect on us, so an entryway becomes more inviting. We feel welcome. Additional design clues define spaces, like in this rambler transformation:

The columns and arches divide the space subtly and create pathways between them. 

You might not even recognize it, but when these zones don’t exist, it creates discomfort. The Foundation Architects had a unique challenge when renovating Lakeland Family Dental. The scale of the building and its orientation with the parking lot and entrance had the potential to be offputting and daunting—definitely undesirable characteristics for a clinic that aims to be welcoming to patients. The building was essentially oriented in reverse of what we would expect based on its position to the main road and parking lot.

Solution: We integrated clues to lead to the entryway, like the low wall in the front of the building so visitors easily relate to the space.

Distinct rooflines were added to the existing building. The modern,  eye-catching canopy over the front door brings the entrance down to scale, and then the open entryway guides patients in and out of the clinic while connecting the exterior and the interior with a defining concrete wall and signage, as shown below:

View more details about the project.

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