Melbourne Oral Health Training & Education Centre


Carlton, Victoria


2014 – 2014


Principal Consultant
Contract Administration
Interior Design
Workplace Strategy and Design
Design team management


DS Architects


The Melbourne Oral Health Training and Education Clinic (MOHTEC) is a revolutionary facility combining modern dentistry teaching and public dental health with a holistic, world-leading approach.

Located off Swanston Street on the University of Melbourne’s Parkville Campus, the existing site featured three amalgamated buildings comprising four-storeys of standard teaching environments plus a ground-level car park. This complex project required the adaptive reuse of the existing buildings to accommodate a highly technical fitout, which needed to be completed in a very tight timeframe to enable enrolments for the upcoming academic year.

A challenging site

The existing buildings were hemmed in by laneways to the south, part north facades and frontage to Swanston Street, which restricted works to within the existing shell. But this was challenging too, because the interior contained irregular footprints, irregular grid-spaced columns and limited ceiling spaces, making it hard to plan suitable layouts and provide the services required to support tech-heavy spaces.

A hallway with a large window and a door in the oral health centre design.
Maximising impact

An existing feasibility study and concept plans proposed a dental clinic dislocated over two floors, however we took a different approach and started again with a new concept plan.

Our unique design concept enabled the entire first floor to accommodate the Melbourne Dental Clinic, providing access for public dental health patients while also facilitating teaching and training for postgraduate students in specialist dental fields. This approach simultaneously responded to the university’s need to accommodate the growing student enrolments, and the community’s need for government subsidised dentistry services.

An oral health centre office design area filled with chairs and dental equipment.
A spacious room filled with various dental equipment and tools.

Teaching simulation lab

​​On the ground level, a 50-chair teaching simulation laboratory accommodates undergraduate students, alongside a virtual lab where students wear virtual reality goggles and undertake simulated surgical procedures on virtual patients.

Calming, welcoming interiors

The design brings all three floors together in a professional, calm, cheerful environment. A key driver for the interiors was to reduce the fear and anxiety many people experience when visiting the dentist. We focussed on creating an inviting reception area, utilising soft and warm materials and colours, and avoiding a sterile, clinical feel.

A lobby with green circular chairs for an oral health centre design
Zoned planning

The fitout comprises three floors with key zones for each user:

  • The ground floor is dedicated to undergraduate students and includes a 50-chair simulation laboratory, lockers, change rooms, toilets, Moog Simodont Trainer – a highly-realistic dental training simulator, support spaces, and cafe tenancy spaces.
  • The first floor accommodates a 50-chair public clinic providing government-subsidised general and specialist dental health care.
  • The second floor contains dedicated staff areas, including a dental cleaning and sterilisation facility, staff amenities and offices.
A dental chair in a room with a white board, providing a comfortable and professional environment for dental procedures.
A spacious room filled with various equipment, providing a functional and organised environment.

Effectively combining dental training and care

MOHTEC supports students pursuing dentistry as a career and meets the department’s need to accommodate more students. By thinking beyond the brief, we have created a highly-functional facility that provides the public access to affordable, high-quality dental health care.

A spacious room filled with numerous vibrant chairs, providing ample seating options for an oral health centre design