Best Repurpose Winner: Green Valley Dental, Sinking Spring, PA
Contractor: Real Services, Inc; Architect: Mula Architechts;
Interior Designers: Mula Architects, Dr. A.J. Giesa and Dr. Lisa M. Ciabattoni;
Photography by Olaf Starorypinski
VISION AND ADAPTATION, two qualities fundamental to life on a farm in southeastern Pennsylvania in the late 1800s, also played a critical role in the structure’s rebirth as a hub of oral health well over a century later.
Graduates of Temple University School of Dentistry, husband-and-wife Drs. A.J. Giesa, 38, and Lisa M. Ciabattoni, 36, kept the Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, farmstead’s heritage in mind while transforming part of it into the 6,500-square-foot Green Valley Dental. “We’d been looking for a new space for a couple of years,” Dr. Ciabattoni says. “The first time we entered this one, we were taken aback by all the amazing old, historic features the building had. The large wood beams, stone walls and open floor plan made it very easy to visualize our future which led us to the decision to renovate and restore.”
Over just seven months – from January to July 2016 – the doctors and their team worked to create a dental practice out of the structure, which had also spent time as a furniture store and book shop once its agricultural days were behind it. “We feel that we created a perfect blend of new technology with the barn’s old structures and textures,” Dr. Giesa says.
In part, that decision was spurred by their tight local relationships. “Becoming close with the patients in our community, many of whom remember when this was a farm, kept us going,” Dr. Ciabattoni says. “So many of them have appreciated the history we’ve kept alive with our renovation.”(Large acrylic prints of one patient’s old family photos of the barn adorn the walls throughout the practice.)
The doctors have further plans as well: Two additional floors of the barn, each, 65,000 square feet, will be renovated and put to use at some point. “Our vision is to develop our building into a ‘complete health’ environment,” Dr. Giesa says. “We’re firm believers that a healthy mouth is critical to overall health. We’re currently seeking out physicians, physical therapists, chiropractors, nutritionists, and yoga instructors to help contribute to providing our community with the best health care possible.”
THE AMOUNT OF PLANNING IS EXTENSIVE AND CAN BE OVERWHELMING. We purposefully chose to work with everyone we did because of their honest reputation and the amazing work they’d completed in the past. You must all be very clear about your intentions and goals from the beginning, because if you’re not the circumstances that will pop up in any project will be hard to deal with.
DR. A.J. GIESA