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Cemex helps to build dental office

Published by , Assistant Editor
World Cement,

The supernumerario dental office in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, goes beyond what was strictly necessary to create a striking, unusual structure that alludes to its functional purpose while adding character to the neighbourhood. The building was a winner at the 2015 Cemex Building Award Puerto Rico and achieved third place at the international edition in the same year.

The project was to renovate an existing windowless building into a three-story multi-use building with a ground floor dental practice, basement offices and an apartment above. Cemex played a key role in the execution of the design.

Cemex supplied 27 000 ft3 of ready-mixed concrete and designed a special concrete mixture for the exposed concrete facades. The mixture was designed to achieve smooth surfaces and a consistent colour 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).”

Aside from simulating the colour 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 colour.

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.

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