onnect Communities, a transitional residence for those recovering from Acquired Brain Injuries or Stroke, implemented a new treatment model in Ontario that assists their residents in a life redesign process. This treatment program’s traditional barrier-free code requirements be creatively avoided or hidden where possible, creating a definitively residential environment. The care facility belies its formal identity to fit within the scale and persona of the residential community it which exists. Boasting 42 bedrooms and ensuites, communal living areas connected by amenity spaces and offices, the facility is complemented by a tangible connection to the landscape and thoughtful access to the surrounding community. A treatment room includes consideration for flooring and equipment as well as a ceiling mounted patient lift to assist in client rehabilitation and fitness programs. Care was taken to provide both privacy to the clients in the treatment room, but also provide views out to the protected conservation lands outside.
The building sits on a slab on grade foundation that respects the protected karst geology beneath. A compressed approvals and construction schedule was aided by a pre-engineered steel structure that is prefabricated and assembled on-site in large panels – saving time, ensuring tight construction tolerances and increasing safety on the construction site.
This twin pad arena reached LEED Silver status and is to date the most energy efficient facility owned by the City of Hamilton. Designed to meet current recreational needs, it is fully accessible, exceeding Ontario Building Code requirements. dpai partnered with rdh architects, leading the site planning and site plan control efforts. The master site plan involved the relocation of two soccer fields, the preservation of the existing single pad arena, and accommodating a proposed Ministry of Transportation highway interchange. dpai also participated in the design, construction documents and LEED certification process. The facility houses two full-size hockey rinks, one with year-round ice, and elevated seating for 900 people. Warm viewing areas of the rinks on both levels were integrated in the interior design, along with 12 change rooms, 4 referee rooms, a multipurpose room, meeting rooms, a pro-shop and a large central atrium.
dpai architecture is a values-driven, award-winning, full-service architecture, interiors and urban design studio, taking a context-first approach to design. The firm was established in Hamilton in 2005 by founding principal and CEO David Premi, who brings over 30 years of experience to the firm. We are focused on urban renewal, sustainability and the strengthening of community through design excellence in the built environment.
dpai’s work encompasses diverse project types, emphasizing a balance between bold vision and grounded, design-driven solutions. The firm is fueled by collaboration and engagement with Clients to elevate their vision. Our public sector clients include Universities, Colleges, Libraries, Churches, and Municipalities. Our extensive private sector portfolio includes Mixed use, Health care, commercial interiors, residential, and retail.
dpai’s work is regularly published in local, national and international online and print publications including: Architectural Record, The Globe and Mail, Dwell, ArchDaily, Swedish print magazine Nyarum, Canadian Architect, Architect Magazine, Canadian Interiors, Home Adore, Architecture Lab, e-architect, Design Milk, and Archilovers.
The rapid growth of this Fortune 500 global corporation called for a new modern facility that reinforced their innovative and strategic position in the marketplace. dpai helped to synthesize their teams into a centralized location that would exemplify their shared values. Covering two large irregular shaped floors, the 60,000sf innovative workspace is located in the heart of downtown St. Catharines; its inhabitants injecting and revitalizing the core. The project creates synergies and adds human-centered wellness spaces such as Yoga Studio, Treadmill Workstation Area, Mothers’ and Prayer rooms. The space affords social spaces and private spaces for a balance of work and rest for this talented and dynamic workforce. Social spaces dual purpose as meeting and gathering spaces, such as the “Stadium” tiered seating areas. Large windows in all areas for both floors enable an abundance of natural light to filter in. The layouts support and accommodate growth and flexibility, while the entirety of the workspace helps to attract and retain the best talent.
Black and white contrasting field finishes and architectural wrapped forms combine with strategic splashes of saturated colour reinforcing brand identity. The saturated colour provides wayfinding to fun social gathering and collaboration spaces. A sculpturally formed reception desk and biophilic elements define the first impression. A wrap up acoustic felt drop ceiling and custom serpentine accent lighting provide a warm quiet hug upon entering. A semi-private workspace including snack bar serves as a touch-down space for guests, while hidden closets tuck away guest valises. The high-level security systems are well integrated yet recede and the Client Innovation space is a mere sampling of the vast amount of, yet visually quiet audiovisual technology throughout the space.
Ripple is a mixed use residential tower proposed to redefine the existing contextual fabric of the site and work integrally with the future park planned for the block immediately to the south of the property.
The building defines a complete edge of the future planned John/Rebecca park, and is designed to create a visually compelling organic backdrop to its activities. The mass of the building is divided into a mid-rise portion on the west and a tower portion on the east which are formally tied with continuous cantilevered balconies around each floor. The curvilinear balcony guards establish a formal horizontality composing the façade as a natural landscape.
The ground floor is transparent allowing direct connection and flow of the commercial uses into the future park. The space immediately outside of the commercial spaces is generous to provide significant opportunity for outdoor patio and retail spaces during favourable weather conditions. These activities will help to activate the north edge of the park with continuous activity. Further emphasizing the connection is proposing transforming Rebecca street into a “Woonerf” condition, where curbs would be eliminated, allowing the building edge to meet a continuous plane of the public space into the park.
The development includes 313 dwelling units, 205 parking spaces on two underground and one above ground levels, 13,000 SF of leasable commercial space, and rooftop amenity spaces. Vehicular circulation for the site has been designed away from the woonerf by designing access via Catharine Street for all vehicles entering the site for parking, loading, deliveries, or garbage removal.
This renovation project involved the reorganization and re-branding of both the Farmer’s Market and the Central Public Library, two of Hamilton’s most important civic destinations. The new interior design of the Library features public spaces, reorganized and enhanced collections, and increased computer and internet access through the introduction of a 50 workstation information commons. The renovation of the Farmer’s Market focused on improvement of the HVAC system, lighting, plumbing servicing, and an overall reorganization of the functional layout. The detailing of the new façade of the additions assists in re-establishing a connection with the street thereby supporting Downtown Renewal and the overall health of the urban environment. The project has also provided an opportunity to engage the public, staff and politicians in a discourse on the value of good design.
“I have worked with many architects on many projects; this project was the first time I found myself letting go, confident that our hopes and visions for the building were being heard and were being translated into a workable plan combined with an amazing AWE factor. Use of the building skyrocketed and has remained high ever since the transformation performed by David and his team.”Former Chief Librarian Ken Roberts Hamilton Public Library
This office interior renovation provides a new home for Real Properties, the property managers of Jackson Square Mall in Hamilton. Real Properties wanted an office that matched their recent rebranding efforts across the 40-year-old mall. They decided to move locations for their new office from an office unit in a tower attached to the mall, to a more unique and prominent unit on the plaza level of the mall. The existing space was a raw concrete space, initially designed to be a restaurant, but was never developed.
The space was designed as a procession from public functions in the front to private functions in the back. The continuous space is comprised of two distinct portions, a lower one overlooking the plaza, and double height space towards the back. The double height space received very little natural light. However, by carefully reviewing existing drawings dating back to the 1970s, a blocked-in clerestory window was discovered. Opening and reactivating this feature transformed the quality of the space. For the new office, Yale properties were shifting from a private office model to an open plan design. This required in-depth client feedback during the schematic design phase.
Along with the open plan office space, the client wanted a private meeting space, a board room, a visible reception point with access control, and a gathering area. Throughout the project, Baltic birch millwork is utilized as a space defining tool, dividing and connecting spaces. The design combines existing finishes with new finishes, exposed natural raw textures with clean uniform surfaces, and soft materials against harder ones. The branding and cultural objectives of the client were achieved by designing an office that matches their fresh new image and provides a space that facilitates a new collaborative office culture.
The King William Performing Arts District Concept Plan proposes the creation of an integrated, multi-use district centred on Theatre Aquarius with a mixture of performing arts, retail, commercial and residential uses bringing vibrancy to the area and sustainability to the Theatre, while connecting the district to other parts of downtown along King William Street. This study was commissioned by Theatre Aquarius, Hamilton's premier professional theatre company with performing arts facilities located on King William Street in downtown Hamilton. As a cultural anchor, the Theatre draws more than 100,000 visitors a year to its facility, contributes more that S 12 million dollars in direct economic benefits to Hamilton each year. The study was undertaken with partner CivicPlan.
As with many cultural institutions, the long-term sustainability of the Theatre requires proactive planning to ensure its ongoing success. In addition to proposed expansion of the institution, DPAI examined existing limitations on the Theatre’s ability to grow as a destination in the downtown. After reviewing local by-laws and plans and consulting with representatives from the performing arts community, neighbourhood, the City of Hamilton, and local post-secondary institutions, DPAI produced a proposed design concept of the district.
The Ted Rogers School of Management expanded their ability for diverse, experiential learning with interior design by dpai for the Classroom of the Future. The space was conceived as a flexible, non-hierarchical, non-directional prototype classroom that can be used as a lecture hall, study space, student lounge and venue for TEDx presentations. The space is designed around four custom soft geometrical saturated orange seating pieces, with dimmable ceiling fixtures constructed from arrays of closely spaced LED lighting strips and clad in a translucent stretch acoustic fabric. Additional seating is provided in two areas for laptop use, while soft blue seating cubes are distributed throughout the space for varied seating options.
The room also features multiple short throw, interactive projectors that cast images onto three walls, offering ultimate flexibility in viewing angles. The lecturer can roam about the space with a wireless microphone and remote for changing the projected images. A state of the art, centrally located, omnidirectional speaker ensures high sound quality in all parts of the room. Students can remotely receive the presentation on their own laptops to provide further functionality to the space.
The second floor of a three-storey commercial warehouse in Toronto’s oldest standing row of buildings, is now home to a busy, real estate, design PR Firm. dpai was commissioned to design an interior space that enables the firm’s flexible and collaborative work style, while functionally and aesthetically aligning with the firm’s creative philosophy.
The existing textured, minimalist palette was emphasized. A boardroom and a pitch room were carved out with floor-to-ceiling glass partitions. At the back of the space, a new kitchenette opens onto an informal lounge area and a touch-down station was paired with lockable file storage.
The large, custom pendant fixture by Toronto’s Lightmaker Studio was intimately suspended over a modular custom sofa set upholstered in bright, eclectic fabrics. The blackened brass of the pendant fixture echoes the existing steel hoist beam, which lent a helpful hand in the fixture’s installation.
The Stone Lofts is a small multi unit residential building with 19 luxury units located along Ancaster’s Historic Wilson Street just outside edge of the “Village Core”. The site is constrained both by its wedge shape and grade condition of the Eastern portion which falls off dramatically to the rear of the property. Designed to work with the shape of the site, the building maximizes the available workable area of the site through its jogged design along the rear. Basement parking is designed to maximize the available footprint by configuring it along the cross slope of the access ramp.
The design of the building sensitively responds to the residential neighbourhood context massing and materiality. The building is configured to break up the mass into a series of smaller volumes, giving the appearance of three smaller buildings on Wilson Street. Each of the volumes has a pitched roof inspired by the contextual historic typology of buildings in Ancaster’s village core.
The facades are animated with windows and balconies in all directions. The longer western stretch of the building is broken up to relate to the scale of the adjacent single family home. The highly visible eastern façade is animated to address approaching pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The pitched roof design and stone materiality are reminiscent of the stone mill and the typology of historical structures within Ancaster village. Historic elements such as stone sills and lintels along with dormer windows are also incorporated into the facades to create a more sensitive connection to the old structures of Ancaster Village.
The Stone Lofts are designed to enhance the pedestrian realm by reinforcing the street edge and supporting multimodal forms of transportation. The proposed building is setback 3 metres from the property line and 7.3 metres from the street. The building’s entrance is on Wilson Street reinforcing a pedestrian, cycling and public transit connection to the street. The project also preserves the wooded open space along the northern portion of the site. The careful design of the building will ensure that it enhances the heritage character of the Village while allowing the introduction of a contemporary language to enrich the built environment.
We are proud to announce that dpai architect, Petra Matar, is now a certified Passive House Institute Designer!
David Premi, Principal and CEO; Jamie Schneider, Senior Architectural Technologist; and David Svoboda, Architectural Technologist, also recently completed the 120A: Passive House Design and Construction course, covering the technical, economic and policy elements of Passive House buildings.
Passive House is considered to be the most rigorous voluntary energy-based standard in the design and construction industry today. Passive House buildings consume up to 90 percent less heating and cooling energy than conventional buildings. Applicable to almost any building type or design, the Passive House high performance building standard is the only internationally recognized, proven, science-based energy standard in construction. Certification with the Passive House Institute ensures that designers, consultants and components are qualified to create buildings that meet the Standard.
Our mission is to make the International Passive House standard of building performance understood, achievable, and adopted by government, industry, professionals, and homeowners across Canada through education, advocacy, events, and building projects.
Passive House Canada is a national non-profit professional association advocating for the Passive House high-performance building standard. Passive House is recognized internationally as the proven best way to build for comfort, affordability and energy efficiency of residential, institutional and commercial buildings, through all stages of design, construction, and livability.
We were founded in 2013 as the Canadian Passive House Institute West (CanPHI West) and became Passive House Canada | Maison Passive Canada in 2016 in response to demand from the building community to form a single national organization. We facilitate the adoption of the Passive House Standard through our advocacy work, education program, and nation-wide events.
This development overlooks Gore Park, Hamilton’s central urban park and most popular public space. The development will introduce residential units to the upper levels and the ground floor is proposed to be restored as commercial storefronts.
The existing historical buildings of 18-28 King Street are proposed to be cut back to reduce the building depth that creates dark interior spaces, which also frees up space at the rear of the site for parking and upgraded services. The facades of the historic buildings are proposed to be restored and incorporated into the project. A new infill building at 30 King Street is designed as a modern response to the scale and materiality of the historical buildings, and 5th floor addition is set back and detailed minimally to visually recede and not compete with the historic fabric. The infill building will also include a new elevator at the rear that provides access to upper level exterior corridors that service the units.
Existing floor structure and floor heights are maintained on upper levels, but the ground floor is proposed to be reconstructed at a lower elevation to achieve a flush entry to the park, which improves accessibility and connection to the public realm.
Dpai worked closely with Council, senior staff, the heritage committee and the legal department to arrive at a design that best serves the community and satisfies the client.
David is regarded as a community leader in his hometown of Hamilton, ON. He serves as a board member for the Chamber of Commerce and is the former chair of the Hamilton Arts Council. David’s advocacy led to the establishment of a Design Review Panel in Hamilton.
Throughout his 30-year career, his focus has been on elevating the language of design, its place in the community and its relationship to city building—an approach that’s typified by an OAA Award of Excellence, and a Chicago Athenaeum Award for the design of Hamilton Public Library and Farmer’s Market.
Patty is a Principal of the firm, and a Registered Interior Designer with ARIDO who brings more than 16 years’ experience in the architecture and interiors field. Since joining DPAI over 8 years ago, she has made invaluable contributions to the firm’s growth with the development of a flourishing interiors division within the corporate commercial, institutional and healthcare design sectors.
Patty is motivated by people engagement and relishes the relationship-building aspect of her profession. She gains inspiration through her values-based approach, the stories people tell.
Inclusive design is the root of Patty’s approach, advocating for equitable participation by every community affected by the design process. Her process is open and transparent. Through open dialog with her clients and people she meets, she adds these important conversations about inclusion and what that means to the design process, especially for those who have been marginalized.
Patty is an exceptionally warm and insightful person, a talented and innovative designer, and a passionate leader. She has been instrumental in strengthening DPAI’s business operations and motivating our people to move forward with confidence and purpose.
Sandy brings over 30 years of creative exploration through architecture, urban design, planning, graphic design, music and marketing to DPAI since joining in 2018.
Sandy studied Urban Planning at the University of Waterloo and went on to receive his Master of Architecture from the University of Toronto. He has an interest in renewal and revitalization of heritage projects and has led a range of new construction, adaptive reuse, renovation and master planning projects throughout his career.
Raised and rooted in Hamilton, Sandy is an active member of the downtown music and arts community and is co-creator and founding partner of Hamilton’s own Sonic Unyon Records. He actively contributes to improving and shaping the city, through his conscious and innovative approach.
Benita is an artist and musician who writes and performs in the group Persons. Originally from Ottawa, ON, she studied fine arts at Concordia University in Montreal, where she specialized in textiles, printmaking and video art. Benita moved to Hamilton in 2014, where she co-founded Casino Artspace. She has a passion for group fitness and can be found teaching classes at the YMCA.
Pablo holds a master’s degree in Urban Design from the University of Toronto, and received his Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Guadalajara in Mexico. He has over 20 years of experience managing a wide range of projects throughout all phases of design and construction – from site planning, programming and schematic design to detail drawings and contract administration. Pablo brings a wealth of knowledge about building codes and accessibility standards as well as extensive experience working with municipal authorities throughout all phases of approvals.
Pablo was drawn to Hamilton’s authentic character and urban grit as well as dpai’s urban renewal work. In his spare time, he can be found at film festivals, music concerts and soccer games. He can also be spotted going for long nighttime runs to keep his creative energy flowing.
Petra Matar grew up in Dubai, UAE, and graduated from the American University of Sharjah with a degree in Architecture. She joined the firm in 2011 shortly after her graduation and has worked on a wide range of project types including institutional, commercial, residential, and urban design projects.
Petra is passionate about good design in all aspects of a project from its management to the end product delivered. Petra’s approach to work is highly organized both in process and presentation. She guides all her projects with a clear road map that helps everyone involved visualize the process and participate in it. Her work is marked by clarity in visual communication and good aesthetic.
As a Passive House Certified Designer, Petra brings this knowledge into projects she works on with the aim of designing a good product for the client, community, and the environment.
She is also a practicing visual and installation artist who values creativity and seeks beauty in everything she makes. Her work has been featured at Supercrawl and in several group and solo shows in Hamilton, Dubai and Sharjah. She is also a graphic designer with extensive self-taught knowledge in art direction and branding.
Jamie is DPAI’s Senior Architectural Technologist with a passion for all things BIM (Building Information Modelling). During the last 15 years, he has worked in England, New Zealand and Canada. Most recently, he worked with a leading design firm in NZ and had the privilege of collaborating with some of the best architects and technologists in the country. There he helped transition the team from traditional CAD to BIM while gaining experience working on many award wining projects. He has been busy implementing and refining our advanced BIM processes, many that were being utilized overseas already, into our project workflow. Jamie has a stellar track record of successfully meeting deliverable targets, receiving positive feedback from clients and end-users.
Yesenia has more than 14 years’ experience designing residences, offices and retail spaces. She has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Universidad Simón Bolívar (Venezuela) and a Master of Arts in Architecture and Interior Design from London Metropolitan University (England). She has worked on a variety of small to medium-sized new projects, build-outs and renovations, and has been part of award-winning teams in private and public competitions. She is a detail-oriented designer who works to create functional, harmonious, innovative and eye pleasing living spaces.
David is currently working through the licencing program to become a Licenced Architectural Technologist with the Ontario Association of Architects. He also holds an advanced diploma in Architectural Technology from Mohawk College. David brings 9 years experience working on residential, commercial, and institutional projects, including laboratory design. He has a solid understanding of building science and architectural detailing, strong problem-solving skills, and a dedication to good design principles.
With a passion for the city where he grew up, David sought out DPAI to help shape the community. When out of the office, he enjoys working on his car, going for walks, and exploring the hidden gems the city has to offer.
Originally from Jordan, Ala grew up studying ancient cities such as Petra and Jerash. The intricate spaces created by ancient civilizations sparked her imagination, and at a young age realized the impact of great architecture. Today, she enjoys exploring different possibilities with space, materials and colours. As an architect, she aims to create something beautiful for people to live, interact with, and forever remember.
Ala received her B.Arch from Petra University in Jordan, and her M.Arch from the University of Waterloo. She is a passionate photographer, traveller and enjoys reading and writing poetry.
Aasiya's fascination for art and architecture sparked from having lived in various cities of the world. Originally from India, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Measi Academy of Architecture, India, and a Master's in Sustainable Architecture from the University of Sheffield, England. Prior to joining dpai, she worked with firms both in India and the Middle East on several high-rise residential, commercial and institutional projects. Her focus in design is to create social, interactive spaces that foster well-being.
Aasiya is an advocate of eco-conscious practices and is trying to implement them in her daily life. She wants to explore the ideas of sustainable and responsible travelling and a lifestyle of minimalism. She is a passionate nature lover, enjoys creative writing, reading, hiking and exploring the city.
Sofia is a marketing and business development professional with over 12 years experience managing strategic campaigns and branding initiatives, primarily within the public sector. As a born and raised Hamiltonian, Sofia graduated from McMaster University with an Hns. BA in English and Fine Art. Sofia started her career in conservation, leading the events and business development efforts for the organization. After contributing to a significant roster of major ecotourism and culture-driven initiatives, Sofia made the move to a GTA municipality where she acted as the marketing lead for the Arts and Culture Division. Now, back in her hometown, Sofia brings her passion and creativity to DPAI.
Sofia is continually seeking adventure in the outdoors and always has a story to share about a place she visited or an interesting person that she met. Among her may hobbies, Sofia also plays and coaches several sports and enjoys expressing her creativity through sewing and textiles.
Cecilia is an experienced financial manager and is exceptionally skilled at strategic growth planning and improving profitability. Prior to joining the DPAI team, Cecilia worked for notable e-commerce and retail brands such as Cleo and Carters OshKosh. With her warm and upbeat nature, Cecilia exemplifies the people side of finance and enjoys the teamwork and camaraderie that comes with her role. Cecilia is deeply devoted to her family and cares immensely for her community and supporting cause-driven initiatives. She has both planned and participated in large-scale fundraisers for organizations such as the Heart & Stroke Foundation, Breast Cancer Society and Diabetes Association, to name a few. In her daily life, Cecilia is always considering ways that she can give back, be it making regular donations to her local library or participating in regular blood drives.
In 2013, Dr. Robert Fitzhenry donated generously to the School of the Arts (SoTA) for a new addition and interior renovation to the existing studios and classrooms at Togo Salmon Hall. The objective was to engage community practitioners, alumni, faculty, staff and students in the design process to understand what the needs, potentials, and caveats of the project would be. The new addition provides vastly expanded floorspace and amenities for more equipment-intensive media — printmaking and sculpture — including facilities for lithography, etching, and silkscreen, as well as wood- and metal-working, and one of Canada’s few remaining metal casting facilities housed in a University fine arts facility. Once-windowless studios for upper-year students have been expanded, and flex-studio and new media facilities balance the use of traditional media with an understanding of the shifting nature of creative practice with the emergence of new tools. Gentle north light pours into the interior of the double-height painting studio and the addition of a 25’x25’x25’ glass-enclosed atrium (“the Cube”), provides a powerful interior environment for critique, exhibition and performance. The SoTA’s new urban prominence has strengthened connections with other faculties so that art students can offer their unique perspectives to engineering and humanities students, and vice versa. Because of urban connections at two levels, the highly transparent “Cube” is now in frequent demand as an event space on campus, while broadly showcasing the work of students and faculty members during both working critiques and final exhibits.
“It has been a pleasure to work with dpai on our art studio expansion and renovation project at McMaster University. dpai’s friendly consultation throughout the process was effective and much appreciated. They applied their expertise to our unique demands, arriving at aesthetically dynamic solutions for a complex network of work spaces. The result is a functionally and visually cohesive space.”Professor Judy Major-Girardin McMaster School of the Arts
A complete interior renovation of this private residence communicates that a new and sustainable form can be invented while highlighting and celebrating the neighbourhood’s historical legacy. The house celebrates and reminds us of the social importance of the front porch. Its material palette is chosen to be deliberately commensurate with established patterns. The form of the carport and absence of an enclosed garage increases the likelihood of spontaneous contact between neighbours in the few seconds between car and front door. The house is respectful to the context from within as well.
Views from the house’s horizontally oriented windows offer spectacular panoramic views of neighbourhood houses churches and schools that are not commonly experienced by residents. The Niagara escarpment is visible to the north, west and south. It promotes a new perspective. Open living spaces promotes interaction between the resident family and offers a “venue” for community activity.
HAMILTON INTERIORS MAGAZINE – Inspiration Beyond Design, Fall, Stanley Residence
E-ARCHITECT – The Stanley Residence in Hamilton, United Kingdom, February, Stanley Residence
HOME ADORE – Private House in Hamilton by dpai, USA, March, Stanley Residence
A fibroblast is a type of cell that manufactures and maintains connective tissue; the structural framework in animal tissues. Besides their commonly known role as structural components, fibroblasts play a critical role in an immune response to a tissue injury, and the healing of wounds. Fibroblasts produce collagen, a primary component of scar tissue.
The Fibroblast Tower is a prosthetic intervention that is designed to begin the healing process of a natural ecosystem, the Niagara Escarpment. Seen as a barrier, the residents of the City of Hamilton have attempted to conquer this World Biosphere Refuge by scarring its surface with roads, paths, and funicular railways to overcome travel challenges. The result is a dysfunctional relationship where the escarpment has become a symbol of the City’s political and environmental shortcomings.
The Niagara Escarpment is both a connector and a divider. It connects land and water, nations, urban and rural environments along its length. It provides a conduit for wildlife. The Bruce Trail runs the length of the escarpment from Queenston on the Niagara River to Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula, providing a venue for uninterrupted nature walks of 890 kilometers in length. The breadth of the escarpment divides the environments above and below, creating a barrier for travel and movement of goods.
The Niagara Escarpment is a UNESCO designated World Biosphere Reserve and is heavily protected from further damage caused by roads, ski areas, resorts, railways, buildings, and wind farms. The continuity of the Escarpment in Hamilton has been breached by several vehicular access points that connect the upper and lower city. The most drastic of these rifts is where the six-lane high speed highway known as the Claremont Access intersects with the older “Jolley Cut”. This has become a hostile environment where pedestrians, hikers, cyclists and wildlife are threatened by forced interaction with vehicular traffic. These man-made arteries deny the natural movement and erosion of the escarpment rock, wreaking environmental havoc on fragile ecosystems.
The Hambly House is a rare example of 1930s Streamline Moderne architecture in Hamilton, and one of only a handful of Art Moderne houses in Ontario. Since the purchase of the house by its new owners in 2012, dpai worked with the clients to design a full restoration with an additional second storey wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glass. The renovation respects the original character and detailing of the designated heritage house while celebrating its contemporary spirit with a bold addition. The interior has been completely refinished and clean, minimalist custom millwork was designed throughout the house. The dining room addition at the rear opens the house to the backyard and celebrates views of the 300-year-old maple tree.
2015 Award of Excellence in Architecture, Hamilton Urban Design and Architecture Awards
Mohawk College’s new Centre for Health Care Simulation at the Institute for Applied Health Sciences (IAHS) located at McMaster University, houses over 25,000 square feet of integrated clinical lab space and supports over 2,000 full and part time students per semester. The centre is an interdisciplinary learning environment enabling students to develop field and clinical skills as part of an inter-professional team. Students demonstrate skills and competency using technology enhanced simulation, paired with a simulated patient program. dpai designed the various space types to support and align with the IAHS vision and saw the multi-phased projects through to completion. The interior design work included a new ultrasound simulation lab, cardiovascular technology lab, accessible testing centre, computer and silent study lab, integrated and collaborative resource library (including, a new service hub, a large anatomical model display case, various collaborative and solo study areas, small meeting rooms, brain storm area and study lounge). The project also included a new staff workroom, research lab, point of care demonstration lab, an expanded nurse clinical tutorial lab and two new ADL (apartment simulation) labs.
"I was impressed on many levels with the DPAI team. They are professional, responsive, respectful and did a very good job of engaging all the stakeholders in the process. They were flexible and accommodating to the changing scope and requirements of the project. The space has been transformed from a 20 year old traditional learning environment to a modern, energetic and creative space that attracts students from all across campus."Paul Armstrong, Vice President Academic Mohawk College
As a public institution, the new Helsinki Central Library is both representative of Finnish society today, and acts as an incubator for the evolution of the culture. It is not only a place where information is consumed and digested but also a forum for the creation of cultural content. The Library is a connector and provides a point of interface between Finnish Culture and the world. It is a symbol of the richness, diversity, and dynamic nature of the country. The mass of the building is elevated above a continuous plaza surface which extends infinitely into the fabric of the City, through the country, and beyond, thereby connecting Finland with the world. The “underbelly” of the building directly addresses the ground surface, providing a direct interface. The face of the underbelly (the inter-face) is clad entirely in a system of glass and LED light slats.
The main mass of the building has been formed through surrender to the forces at play: the presence of the Parliament Buildings, the views, the sun, and the program. The result is a sculpted form with varying percentages of clear glazing, acid etched glazing and titanium clad spandrel panels which exhibits interplay between solid and void, transparency and opacity, not unlike a block of ice as it is eroded and changed by the elements.
Part of the space created below the inter-face is enclosed program space, and some exterior public space. The boundary between these realms is transparent and meandering so as to be insubstantial. The interior spaces are very public in nature: main entrances to program above, café, exhibition, lounge, shops, and flexible performance space.
dpai helped University of Toronto’s (U of T) Food and Ancillary Services realize five unique, proprietary food concepts in the heart of downtown Toronto’s campus. dpai worked with the clients to develop separate branding images for a pizzeria, soup bar, salad bar, tex-mex and gourmet burger concept. Special attention was paid to every interior design detail to ensure the spaces for all food concepts reinforced the client’s food concept vision. dpai achieved that by designing elements such as custom pop art boxes, bicycle taxidermy artwork, custom industrial lighting and stunning custom designed steel, live edge and acrylic panel service counters. dpai was able to deliver highly custom designs successfully within tight timeline and budget and worked closely with U of T Food Services to incorporate new food service equipment.
The service counters were designed and built to last; the live edge wood, and undulating butcher block counter wrap at the pizzeria serve to lend warmth to the space and unify all 5 food concepts. This renovation raised the bar for design for food services on campus and set a new standard for food service counter design for future projects on campus. Stone Oven Pizza is currently outperforming its major chain counterpart on campus, and all food concepts points have been showing major gains in sales.