In January, architect Paul Battista visited Colorado Hardscapes' Design Center with a vision. Dr. Andre Gillespie came to Battista with a dinosaur-themed dentist office idea. As Battista started to create a fully themed office complete with museum quality murals, he turned to Colorado Hardscapes when it was time to approach the fossil and flooring elements. Gillespie wanted to create an atmosphere where children from 2 to 14 years old would look forward to coming to the dentist. Off the bat they threw out the idea of cartoony themed work, as they wanted to appeal to older kids as well. The design was not only dramatic, but truly unique for a dentist office.
As a patient enters the office, they are greeted with a concrete stone gate similar to what you'd see in the movie "Jurassic Park," with light boxes flanking each column with an artificial flame flickering, immediately creating an adventurous aura. The check-in desk has the same faux rock finish on the face, keeping true to the rugged nature of the office. The floor is a natural concrete floor ground and stained with Bomanite stains in earth tones and a T-Rex footprint tempting visitors to follow it into the doors beyond. Beyond the waiting room, following the footprint, kids are ushered into the rest of the office. The X-Ray room is a giant fossilized egg perched on a rocky ledge, all made out of concrete through GFRC and shotcrete techniques. Following the sandblasted and stained T-Rex footprints past the floor to ceiling mural of Tyrannosaurus Rexes gathering at a drinking hole, is another artificial rock feature on the opposite end of the office. Here, the storage room is hidden with a rocky outcropping with a raptor and other smaller fossils. Even the doors to the room are cladded in artificial rock, created a seamless rock feature for dramatic effect. Going back down the other hallway, back towards the dinosaur egg, suddenly there are raptor footprints leading the way, as if the fossil leapt off the rocky edge to show visitors what else is around the corner. This hallway has another floor to ceiling mural, with two more light boxes with flickering flames. The raptor footprints lead children through the hallway, past the dinosaur egg, to either the exit or the restrooms.
Colorado Hardscapes used two different crews to achieve the rockwork and flooring finishes in the project. The artificial rockwork took approximately a month and a half to complete with a crew of three men and the flooring took a week and a half with a crew of three. The biggest challenge of the project was working in a small office to create a dramatic yet not crowded atmosphere.
The team of Gillespie, Mendel and Co. Construction, Battista Design Group, and Colorado Hardscapes created not only a children's' dentist office in Aurora, Colo., but a truly unique, educational, and adventurous experience.