Phillips Smith Conwell

James Cook University – Oral Health


Abigroup Contractors




Cairns, Queensland



The James Cook University Dental Centre set in tropical Cairns goes far beyond its brief to provide a teaching and patient dental facility. The project challenges the physical model of typical dental clinics and in doing so attempts to generate a positive view of visiting the dentist. As a result it serves the community by encouraging the public to visit the dentist and reduce current oral health problems in Far North Queensland. The architecture responds in a very patient focused, non-confrontational manner providing calm and visually pleasing spaces. These overlook its luscious green environment while equally achieving a high quality teaching outcome with its client’s clinical focus being satisfied.

The facility provides dental services to the general public through a partnership between JCU and Queensland Health and is comprised of open plan clinical teaching areas (containing 85 dental chairs), sterilising room, X-ray room, storage rooms, amenities, administration offices and a reception / waiting room.

The project has provided a new benchmark for healthcare dental and training facilities with its balance of high quality clinical teaching space and patient focussed care. All visitors and occupants have responded with delight at the non-clinical atmosphere, which we hope will contribute to improvement of the quality of dental health in Far North Queensland.


  • Interior Architecture State Award
  • Eddie Oribin Award for Building of the Year
  • Regional Commendation – Far North Queensland