Center for Precision Dental Medicine, Columbia University

The new fifth floor of the Vanderbilt Clinic of Columbia University’s School of Dental Medicine is part of a masterplan that envisages the complete restructuring of dental education, research and practice at Columbia. This project is the prototype for CDM’s new technology-driven and collaboration-oriented curriculum. The design translates the school’s vision for dentistry into architectural form.

Located adjacent to the school’s existing space for education and patient care, this new operatory environment supports simulation learning and patient care within the same setting, making the preclinical experience as realistic as possible. Through the iterative process of researching, observing, designing and testing, the team has arrived upon a single prototype that effectively simulates the preclinical dentistry experience. S-shaped partitions envelope a dental chair and its surrounding equipment, their arrangement determined by the optimal ergonomic conditions required by dentists. Additional services include the development a master plan for the college through the extensive review of CDM’s current and future needs.

Show Facts

Vanderbilt Clinic, within the NewYork-Presbyterian / Columbia University Medical Center Complex


16,000 ft2 / 1,500 m2; outpatient clinic and teaching labs


Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, New York; Columbia University Medical Center, New York

PCF&P Services

Master planning, interior design, and industrial design

lead designer

Ian Bader

The partitions offer privacy for the patient, while transparency above the chair allows the dentist to feel part of the larger educational environment.

Clinical care layout

Project facts pdf

Project Credits

Architect of Record: Jeffrey Berman | Architect, New York, NY; Mechanical / Electrical / Plumbing: Cosentini Associates, New York; Interiors: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners; Images: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Jeff Goldberg/Esto