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Connect Communities Hamilton

  • Type: Private, Institutional, Interiors
  • Client: Connect Communities
  • Collaborators: Ira McDonald Construction Ltd., Blackwell, CK Engineering Ltd., Adesso Design Inc., A.T. McLaren Ltd, ODAN-DETECH, Terra – Dynamics, Soil-Mat Engineers & Consultants Ltd
  • Size: 3743 M2
  • Location: Hamilton, ON
  • Status: Complete

Connect 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.

Harry Howell Twin Pad Arena

  • Type: Public, Institutional
  • Client: City of Hamilton
  • Collaborators: RDH Architects (Prime Consultants), Jain and Associates
  • Size: 8268 m2
  • Location: Hamilton, ON
  • Status: Complete
  • Photography: N/A

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 is an architecture, interiors and urban design studio based in Hamilton, Ontario. The purpose of our practice is to create sustainable work environmentally and socially. Our practice approaches sustainability through a holistic lens, ranging from environmental design to sustaining our communities.

Our mission is to Shape the World. We combine a holistic design approach with people-first sensitivity; always maintaining focus on the end-user experience.

Our values are more than catch phrases. They are the guiding principles that inform each decision and inspire our design and project management approach. They guide and empower us as architects, designers, partners and collaborators in our quest to create functional and accessible spaces for those who inhabit them.

The construction and operation of buildings has a huge impact on the carbon footprint of humanity. The way we plan a community is a determining factor in the health and well being of it’s inhabitants. We fulfill our mission by choosing to create a positive social, economic and environmental impact through our work.

Our portfolio includes work across multiple sectors and range in size from feasibility studies, master planning, urban plans, interior renovations and new builds. Our diverse experience affords us the ability to combine ideas from disparate areas to create novel solutions to complex design challenges.

Our studio houses a multidisciplinary team of nearly 20 architects, urban designers, interior designers, planners, technologists and sustainability experts. Our culture of collaboration and inclusion inspires us to always consider our designs in a larger local and global context – providing solutions and services within the built environment that create a positive impact.

Corporate Commercial

  • Type: Commercial, Interiors, Private
  • Client: Confidential
  • Collaborators: CBRE, Artemide Lighting
  • Size: 60,000 sf
  • Location: St. Catharines, ON
  • Status: Complete
  • Photography: Naomi Finlay

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 Residence

  • Type: Private, Residential, Urbanism
  • Client: Sonoma Homes
  • Collaborators: Wellings Planning, Adesso Design
  • Size: 35,000 sqm
  • Location: Hamilton, ON
  • Status: In-Progress

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.

Hamilton Public Library and Farmers Market

  • Type: public institutional urbanism interiors
  • Client: City of Hamilton, Hamilton Public Library
  • Collaborators: EXP Engineering Consultants
  • Size: 7,000 SM
  • Location: Hamilton, ON
  • Status: Complete

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

Real Offices

  • Type: Private, Commercial
  • Client: Real Properties
  • Collaborators: ARC Engineering, Seguin Engineering
  • Size: 190 sqm
  • Location: Hamilton, ON
  • Status: Complete

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.

King William Performing Arts District

  • Type: Urbanism
  • Client: Theatre Aquarius
  • Architects: DPAI Architecture
  • Collaborators: CivicPlan
  • Location: Hamilton, ON
  • Status: Concept

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.

Awards 2015 Award of Excellence in Precinct Study Hamilton Urban Design and Architecture Awards King William Performing Arts District Concept Plan Publicity E-ARCHITECT – King William Performing Arts District in Hamilton, United Kingdom, February, King William Performing Arts District Study

Classroom of the Future

  • Type: Educational
  • Client: Ted Rogers School of Management
  • Collaborators: Barrisol by LG Interiors, Feek Furniture, the Hidi Group
  • Size: 224 m2
  • Location: Toronto, ON
  • Status: Complete

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.

Warehouse Office

  • Type: Commercial / Interiors
  • Size: 2,000 SQFT
  • Location: Toronto, ON
  • Status: Complete
  • Year: 2016

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.

Fire Station #1 & Fire and Emergency Services Headquarters

  • Type: Public, Institutional
  • Size: 1,835 m²
  • Location: Welland, ON
  • Collaborators: Mettko
  • Client: City of Welland
  • Status: In construction

The City of Welland Fire and Emergency Services has commissioned DPAI to design a new, 1,835 square metres (19,755 sf.), sustainable energy facility to serve as their new Fire Department Headquarters Building. The new facility is a one-storey structure comprising an Administrative & Training Building (Main Building) and an Operations & Equipment Area (Apparatus Area). It is anticipated that the new facility will be constructed to achieve 45% improvement over the minimum energy efficiency levels conforming to “Model National Energy Code for Buildings”.

The design of the building incorporates high-performance doors, windows and building materials, durable and low maintenance building finishes in addition to high performance mechanical & electrical systems.

The new building is divided into two main areas or portions, each of which could aim at different levels of energy efficiency. The main building is intended to exceed 45% the energy efficiency levels conforming to NECB 2015 and the apparatus area is intended to meet energy efficiency values as mandated by OBC 2012 (or latest revision).


Passive House Certified

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.

About Passive House Canada

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.

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  • Type: Institutional
  • Client: McMaster University
  • Collaborators: N/A
  • Size: 762 m2
  • Location: Hamilton, ON
  • Status: Complete

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

Join our Team


Balance your life.

We understand the lasting impact that buildings and cities have on people and the environment, and we embrace our responsibility to leave this world better that we found it. Our mission is to Shape the World. That starts with our people.

By providing our team with a flexible, hybrid work environment centered on trust and collaboration, the essence of our work culture is balance. We understand that everyone has unique circumstances, so we remove barriers and provide accommodations that allow our team to thrive personally and professionally.

As we look to the future of our growing firm, we are seeking a like-minded, values-driven, licensed (OAA) Architect to join our team. DPAI works with clients across multiple sectors, and our ideal candidate is an intrinsically motivated leader, adept in managing high-profile public and institutional projects.

In addition to competitive salaries, vacation time, flex time, RRSP contributions, health benefits, and hybrid work locations, DPAI has a robust onboarding process. All new employees get a designated “buddy” and are welcomed with a little gift – a succulent that we encourage you to name. By joining the DPAI team you can also look forward to additional perks like an additional day off for your birthday, fresh fruit in the lunchroom everyday, access to our quiet/prayer room, annual team trips and regular social events! We also have an internal staff engagement app and offer facilitated growth to our team through professional development and continuing education support.

Learn more about us at:


If our mission speaks to you, let’s have a conversation. Meaningful projects and leadership opportunities exist at DPAI for passionate and entrepreneurial professionals, like yourself. Email or call us to discuss how we can collaborate with you to redesign your career and improve your work/life balance as a Senior Architect at DPAI.


Our Team



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.

Benita Whyte


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 Schneider

Senior Architectural Technologist
Dipl. Arch. Tech.

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.


M.Arch. + ID

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.

ala abuhasan

intern architect
b.arch, m.arch

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 Aslam

B.Arch, MSc. Sustainable Architecture

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.

Saadman Ahmed

B.Arch., M.Arch.

Saadman is a graduate from the University of Waterloo who has experience working and studying architecture in cities such as Rome, New York, Toronto and Netherlands. Originally born in Bangladesh and raised in Canada, he holds a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Architecture, and is currently working towards becoming a licensed architect. Saadman’s passion lies in small to medium scale architecture including retail, residential and religious architecture, and his focus is to create spaces which bring out the true value of good design.

Saadman loves travelling to new cities and countries, hiking in nature, and sketching buildings. He also enjoys cooking, grilling, and experimenting with different types of spices to create new dishes.

Shari Roberts

Senior Technologist
DIPL. T., M.A.A.T.O.

Hamilton born and bred, Shari attended Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology. She is an Architectural Technologist with over 27 years of experience. She has been an accredited member of the Association of Architectural Technologists for over 20 years and has worked on many award-winning projects in Ontario.

Shari is well-versed in both AutoCAD and Revit (BIM) software and has strong project coordination skills. Shari enjoys seeing an architect’s idea flourish from a pencil sketch to a beautiful iconic structure in any shape or size.

Outside of work, Shari is passionate about plant-based foods, home décor and gardening where she has been a past White Trillium Award recipient. Shari also involves herself in fundraising for cancer research, a cause that is very close to her heart.

Kaley Davidson

Interior Designer

Born and raised in Hamilton, Kaley graduated from McMaster University with a combined honours B.A in Art History and Cultural Studies + Critical Theory before pursuing a career in design.

After completing a Bachelor of Interior Design from RSID, she began her career working on a variety of multi-family residential developments, hospitality, and commercial projects – always striving to create spaces that are both functional and beautiful.

Kaley loves to travel and is always excited to explore new cities - seeking out art, design, and food wherever she goes.

Gladys Lee


Gladys is a graduate from X* University (previously known as Ryerson University), who has a keen interest in new trend material research, and is passionate about exploring design on a multidisciplinary level. Gladys is eager to learn and apply emerging knowledge and technologies into influencing the process of design as a whole. Having working experience in both Toronto and Hong Kong, Gladys’ design philosophies are often influenced by the fast pace evolution of urban cities, which often sparks conversations and independent research on the need for material permanence in modern architectural languages.

Gore Mixed Use

  • Type: Private, Commercial
  • Client: Markland Property Management
  • Size: 3417.36 sqm
  • Location: Hamilton, ON
  • Status: In-Progress

The Gore Block Mixed Use Development overlooks Gore Park in Hamilton’s central downtown core. The proposed development, located at 18-22, 24 and 28 King St. East, will revive and preserve this historical landmark with leasable retail space on the main level with an upper 5 storeys reserved for office space. The development also plans to feature publicly accessible outdoor space and an internal courtyard, contributing to the vision of a pedestrian-friendly downtown.

The proposed structural system is Mass Timber, a rapidly renewable resource. Through high performance envelope design, and innovative mechanical and electrical systems, the intention of the development is to meet the performance criteria of a Net Zero or near-Net Zero building. Access to an underground parking garage will be located on the alleyway behind the building.

The proposed project considers the preservation and renewal of the 4 designated heritage façades that frame the south side of Gore Park. As the most intact historic streetscape on Gore Park, the conservation of the façades will preserve the history and character of these notable buildings. Extensive conservation has been, and continues to be, undertaken by a team of heritage specialists to restore original elements and integrate the façades into the new structure.

DPAI has worked with Hamilton’s City Council, staff, and respective to arrive at a design that best serves the community and satisfies the client.

125 Stanley

  • Type: single residential
  • Client: Private
  • Collaborators: Jain & Associates Inc. , MTE Consultants Inc.
  • Size: 3000 sq. ft.
  • Location: Hamilton, ON
  • Status: Complete

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


  • Type: Public, Urbanism
  • Location: Hamilton, ON
  • Status: Concept

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.


Mission Vision Values









City of Hamilton


Hamilton Burlington Society of Architects | The Hambly House


City of Hamilton


Hamilton Urban Design and Architecture Awards
King William Performing Arts District Concept Plan


Hamilton Urban Design and Architecture Awards
The Hambly House


The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, The European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, and Metropolitan Arts Press, Ltd. Hamilton Public Library & Farmers Market Renovation and Addition


Hamilton Municipal Heritage Committee
The Seedworks Urban Offices
Awarded jointly with Jeff Feswick, Historia Building Restoration

The Hambly House

  • Type: Private, Residential, Interiors
  • Client: Private
  • Collaborators: Toms + McNally Design, Mantecon Partners
  • Size: N/A
  • Location: Hamilton, ON
  • Status: Complete
  • Photography: Revelateur Studios

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 IAHS

  • Type: Public, Institutional, Educational, Interiors
  • Client: Mohawk College
  • Collaborators: Jain & Associates Ltd.
  • Size: 2323 m2
  • Location: Hamilton, ON
  • Status: Complete
  • Photography: Revelateur Studios

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

Helsiniki Public Library

  • Type:Institutional, Concept
  • Year: 2012
  • Location: Helsinki, Finland
  • Status: Concept

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.

U of T Food Services

  • Type: Public, Institutional, Educational, Interiors
  • Client:University of Toronto
  • Collaborators: H.H. Angus & Associates Ltd.
  • Size: 1331.5 sf + 845sq.ft
  • Location: Toronto, ON
  • Status: Complete
  • Photography: Revelateur Studios

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.