Food and Architecture in Chicago

August 29, 2011 by Joe Church.

In May, JoeArchitect exhibited at the 2011 AAO in Chicago.  It is an event that we participate in every year and a great opportunity to meet orthodontists from all over the world.  This year’s crowd included doctors from Australia, Panama, Newfoundland, Italy and Jordan just to name a few.

Whenever Joe Church and I travel for business we like to spend our limited free time soaking up the city.  For us, this usually includes food, drink, architecture … and more food.  Of course, it always helps to be prepped by someone who truly knows the city.  In the case of Chicago, that someone is John Bertagni with Henry Schein.  John is a Chicago native with deep roots in the region who recently joined the Denver dental community (our gain, their loss).  He also shares a passion for food and great restaurants.  He pointed us in the direction of 2 great spots, Club Lago and Le Colonial.  Club Lago is a little red sauce joint on the north side and Le Colonial is an elegant French/Vietnamese restaurant on Rush St.  Both were outstanding.

On the architecture front, we had the opportunity to tour a ground-breaking dental practice. Ora, Oral Surgery and Implant Studio is a 5,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility located in Chicago’s South Loop, several blocks from the McCormick Center.  What makes Ora so unique is their commitment to environmentally sustainable design and Eco-Friendly Dentistry.  Steven Koos, DDS, MD is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who is committed to the well being of his patients, community and environment.  This is evident in the design of the south loop office.  Through Steve’s leadership, the facility achieved LEED certification and is also a registered GGHC (Green Guide for Heath Care) project.  LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) provides building owners and operators with “a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions”.  In addition, the studio is currently the only oral surgery practice in the nation powered entirely by sustainable, green wind energy, making the facility carbon negative.

The aesthetic that the office presents as you enter the facility proves that you need not sacrifice design quality for environmental sustainability.  The studio is a spa-like environment that is anything but clinical.  Natural beach pebble walls mix with warm wood veneers at the reception desk to welcome patients.  The use of woven vinyl is a unique but practical solution to flooring throughout much of the facility.  The sliding translucent panel doors to treatment rooms add a cool contemporary glow as you make your way from the waiting room to the clinical areas.  At every turn the design, furnishings and art reinforce the green message.

This message extends beyond the physical facility to the practice philosophy.  The Ora team is a leader in the newly evolving practice of Eco-Friendly Dentistry which “encompasses a simultaneous devotion to environmental sustainability, prevention, precaution, and a minimally invasive patient-centric as well as global-centric treatment philosophy.”  As if this were not enough, Ora takes this commitment to another level with their tree campaign.  As part of the tree campaign, Ora, in association with “Trees for the Future”, pledge to plant a tree for every tooth that they pull.  Talk about putting your money where your mouth is.

Give us a call at JoeArchitect and ask how you can use the principles of green design in your dental office.

You can learn more about Ora, Oral Surgery and Implant Studio and Eco-Friendly Dentistry at


Ora, Oral Surgery and Implant Studio website (
USGBC website (
The architect of record for Ora’s South Loop Office is Paula Feigum of PCF Design