Dr. Craig Spodak is a believer that environmental factors can affect how we see the world, and how productive and healthy we are. That is one reason his is breaking ground this month on a state-of-the-art LEED Certified building on Atlantic Avenue (between Congress and Military) in Delray Beach. The 13,000 square-foot building is a hallmark of good taste and environmental sustainability.
“The design of our new building is biophilic, which means it is compatible with nature and its surroundings. It will have natural light, lush landscaping and an environmentally friendly design,” said Dr. Spodak, who was just named Business Person of the Year by the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce.
To accomplish this lofty goal, Dr. Spodak has hired world renowned artist Michael Singer. Both Singer and associate designer Jason Bregman are on the cutting edge of environmental serenity and sustainability. The new Spodak building will house 18 dental operatories, a ceramic laboratory (to make crowns, implants and bridges), office space, a learning center, eating facility, waiting area and support spaces.
With this expansive medical space comes a new way of defining what makes a dental office a place of beauty, rather than a sterile environment. “The primarily design goal was to create abundant natural lighting and indoor spaces that feel like a part of the surrounding landscape and gardens. It’s not just a green building, but one that feels wrapped in gardens that are intimately connected to the Florida landscape,” said Jason Bregman, a designer at Michael Singer Studio South.
Dr. Spodak is a big proponent of the positive effects of natural lighting and lush landscaped views for patients and staff. “When you are in a space that has natural light and a better quality air you feel better, you’re more productive, and the patients and team are happier. Patients also have been known to have better outcomes,” said Dr. Spodak.
To know the Spodak Team is to know about dentistry from the bottom up (so to speak). There are hygienists, general dentists, an oral surgeon, periodontist, endodontist and an anesthesiologist – which adds up to 35 people in total. The new structure will also be a regional showcase for the Midmark Corporation, a manufacturer of medical and dental equipment. “I formed a partnership with Midmark, and our new offices will be a living breathing showroom for them to show other dentists from around the country,” said Dr. Spodak, who has also been giving lectures to other dentists.
To accomplish the ultimate in sustainability this new LEED Certified space will have floor to ceiling glass walls, solar panels and Solatubes, which will provide natural light for enclosed interior spaces. It will also have a cistern for supplemental irrigation to bring water to fruit trees, an herb and vegetable garden and tropical shade garden. Although this may seem more decorative than sustentative, the fruits of this labor are many. “The typical dentist office uses 2000 gallons of water per day (with three dental chairs), but in our new offices we will have 18 dental chairs but only use 150 gallons of water a day. The perception is that this type of building costs more (and it does) but it pays tremendous dividends. We save on energy, water and our staff will be more productive,” said Dr. Spodak, whose wife Zaicha recently gave birth to a son named Gavin (they also have a threeyear-old daughter Sage).
Another link to the performance and enlightenment of the upcoming Spodak Building is through the landscape mastermind of Connie Roy-Fisher of Sprout Studio. Roy-Fisher agrees with Dr. Spodak’s belief that a great environment is optimal for the health and welfare of all involved. “Research shows that exposure to nature reduces stress and improves the outcomes in healthcare settings. To that end, the landscape of the new Spodak Dental Building incorporates large areas of native plants to attract birds and butterflies, a collection of tropical plants that provide interesting colors, textures and fragrances and an edible garden. Dr. Spodak has taken great pains to make sure that the setting for his new dental office benefits and improves the health of clients, staff and the environment,” said Roy-Fisher.
Dr. Spodak is also hopeful that his new building will inspire others in Delray Beach to create similar green structures. So far other LEED Certified buildings in the area are The Seagate Hotel, Sequil Systems, The Colony Hotel, Plumosa Elementary School and others. But everyone who aspires to this new model of environmental sustainability and beauty is hopeful it will become the norm, not the deviation. “With biking and a strong pedestrian-oriented downtown, quality green developments like the new Spodak Dental office are beginning to put Delray Beach on the map as a notable green City,” said Michael Singer.
It may have started with a dream, but this new building will affect everyone near and far – patient and non-patient. “Dr. Spodak envisions an environmentally sound holistic building and landscape that will comfort patients, inspire staff and create an open and transparent facility,” adds Bregman.
And so the dream begins when the clock strikes mid-November. Kudos to the Spodak Dental Team, and to Dr. Craig, who is always looking for new ways to move forward without jumping over the natural order of things.