Supernumerario: A unique dental office with “teeth” turns heads in Puerto Rico - Supernumerario: A unique dental office with “teeth” turns heads in Puerto Rico
Supernumerario: A unique dental office with “teeth” turns heads in Puerto Rico
October 20, 2016
This 2015 CEMEX International Building Award winner was renovated to precise specifications using CEMEX materials.
The word supernumerary is defined as “exceeding what is necessary, required, or desired”, and in dentistry, it refers specifically to the presence of additional teeth. The supernumerario dental office in Yabucoa in southeast Puerto Rico certainly fits this description, going beyond what was strictly necessary to create a striking, unusual structure that succeeds in alluding to its functional purpose while adding character to the neighborhood. This outstanding building was a winner at the 2015 CEMEX Building Award Puerto Rico, going on to achieve third place at the international edition that same year.
Exterior “cannons” protrude from the walls to harness natural light for the previously windowless building
The project consisted of renovating an existing window-less building, previously the city’s first supermarket, into a three-story multi-use building with a ground-floor dental practice, basement offices and an apartment above. CEMEX played an essential role in taking the design from its main conceptual premise through to execution.
Concrete is an extremely versatile material, which in turn allows for sculptural possibilities that let architects and designers to give free reign to their ideas. Among the 27,000 cubic feet (almost 765 cubic meters) of ready-mix concrete supplied, CEMEX designed a special concrete mixture for the exposed concrete façades. The mixture was designed to achieve smooth surfaces and a consistent color and had to be sufficiently fluid to support efficient pours but without compromising quality.
The CEMEX commercial team in Puerto Rico maintained close communication with the client throughout the project to ensure that his needs were met. “As the designer, I asked CEMEX for a white aggregate from the same quarry and same geological area to minimize discrepancies, which meant securing a single material acquisition,” explained Julián Manriquez Botello, the project’s architect. The material which CEMEX chose, he added, “helped achieve the concrete and tone I was looking for solely through natural means and not through tinting (artificial method).”
Among the 27,000 cubic feet (almost 765 cubic meters) of ready-mix concrete supplied, CEMEX designed a special concrete mixture for the exposed concrete façades
Aside from simulating the color of healthy white teeth, Manriquez Botello explained that the chosen aggregates made the concrete more reflective, so that the light from the sunset would make the building appear to be of a different color.
The building’s offices and dental practice were conceived for easy accessibility and so use ramps instead of an elevator or stairs. Exterior “light cannons” protrude from the walls to harness natural light for the previously windowless building. Patients who enter the clinic are also treated to a concrete interior that is as unique as the exterior façade, with geometric shapes on a floating ceiling that alludes to the palate.
Manriquez Botello says the residents of Yabucoa have embraced supernumerario, pointing to the fact that its pristine white walls have remained free of graffiti and that locals have given the building many nicknames. “They intuitively sense that something special is happening,” he says, “These are all indicators that the locals are taking ownership of the building, making it part of them, of their daily discourse.” This, he concludes, is one of the amazing capabilities of architecture and construction.
On November 10, 2016, 62 finalists from 20 different countries will compete for the International Edition of the 2016 CEMEX Building Award. The winners of each of the five categories will be announced during a ceremony hosted by CEMEX in Mexico City.
Patients who enter the clinic are also treated to a concrete interior that is as unique as the exterior façade, with geometric shapes on a floating ceiling that alludes to the palate
CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides high quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries. Celebrating its 110th anniversary, CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through innovative building solutions, efficiency advancements, and efforts to promote a sustainable future.