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 its inhabitants. We fulfill our mission by choosing to create a positive social, economic and environmental impact through our work.
Our portfolio includes award-winning projects 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Alifa is an artist and designer who graduated from University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Architectural Studies. She is happy to be back working in her hometown of Hamilton. Before DPAI, she worked in Vancouver and Toronto architecture firms assisting on residential, commercial, educational, and urban design projects. She endeavors to use architecture to tell a story of a place and the people who belong to it.
For fun, Alifa enjoys expressing her creativity with illustration, animation, and tiny sculptures.
Alex is an Intermediate Interior Designer with over 8 years of professional experience on projects across North America. She has worked at some of Toronto’s top design firms and possesses a breadth of project knowledge from luxury hotels and residences to retail and restaurants, and beyond. Creating meaningful spaces that push the boundaries of design from overall concept to nuanced details is paramount to her design aesthetic. Alex incorporates inspiration from her love of travel and exploration through art, culture, fashion, and food into her work.
Mike’s ongoing objective is to understand and produce well-conceived and well-constructed projects. With experience across institutional, single-family and multi-unit residential, and public art projects, he revels in detail resolution. As a Certified Passive House Designer, he has enthusiasm for passive design strategies and alternative or provocative approaches to sustainability.
Mike holds a Master of Architecture from Ryerson University (now Toronto Metropolitan University) where he was named to the RAIC Honour Roll and received funding for a term program in Vienna. His graduate thesis, Enclosure as Metaphor, treated the building enclosure as a cultural artifact and was awarded the OAA Guild Medal.
On Sundays he makes French toast and runs the Rail Trail, Bayfront, and Dundas Valley.
Sebastian is a passionate and driven Senior Architect with a keen interest in enriching our built environment and enhancing the human experience. Having worked for over 15 years in the architectural profession, Sebastian’s design and management experience includes projects that range from emergency services, offices, health care, civic, hospitality, residential, and mixed use.
Sebastian holds a Professional Bachelor and Master of Architecture degree from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University). He remains actively engaged in architectural education and mentorship, teaching as a Sessional Instructor at Sheridan College Architectural Technology in the design studios and acting as a guest critic at student presentations.
A proud father with a unique sense of humour; Sebastian’s passion and creativity continually inspire him to design buildings that enrich lives and foster community.
“I and my colleagues have worked with a number of architects over the years on everything from small renovations to large multi-building developments. In that time we have never worked with a firm that addressed our needs over imposing their ‘vision’ in the way that DPAI has. That is not to say that DPAI hasn’t been prepared to propose alternatives to what we had contemplated, but that the entire process has been respectful of what Good Shepherd was trying to achieve. Also, in so many cases, the principal of an architectural firm is what one often ‘buys’ and the strength of their support team is often difficult to judge and in my experience, has in some cases been inadequate. I can say that there is a very strong team at DPAI.
Finally I want to mention something about the actual development process that has been unique in our experience with DPAI. Developing, whether through renovations or by starting new is fraught with challenges and frequently leads to some very difficult conversations among the design team. I and others that I’ve worked with have all commented on how different it has been working with DPAI where we can have the ‘tough’ conversations without them being ‘difficult’ ones as well. This in and of itself is one of the best reasons that I can think of to work with someone and we will continue to work with DPAI in the future.”Alan J. Whittle, Director, Community Relations & Planning Good Shepherd Hamilton
“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.”Judy Major-Girardin, Professor and Project Team Lead, McMaster School of the Arts
“ In all the projects we have worked with David Premi and his team on we have found their consistent commitment to understanding our needs and then translating those into innovative designs that addresses our needs and aspirations in ways we did not envision. They have brought to every project an attitude of being our advocates while being willing to take chances on providing design solutions that help us create sustainable and exciting solutions. It has been very rewarding to work with the DPAI team. Every project has challenges and having DPAI on our side has helped us overcome the challenges we have faced.”Paul Takala, Chief Librarian/CEO Hamilton Public Library
“Theatre Aquarius, like many institutions in the non-profit sector, has big dreams, grand visions, and limited resources. That is exactly why a partner like DPAI architecture has been so essential for us. They share our inspiration, and have the flexibility and responsiveness to help us actualize those ideas, while taking innovative approaches to ensure that the finished project reflects the vision, and not the roadblocks that were overcome along the way.”Lorna Zaremba, General Manager Theatre Aquarius
“DPAI were the lead architects for the renovations to Hamilton’s Central Library. The building had been a prime example of seventies brutalist architecture, with all of the dark and cold connotations. David Premi and his team saw the building’s potential, which we didn’t. 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. The result is a remarkable, iconic building that the public has embraced as their own. One of my favourite moments, as a librarian, was the day it re-opened after eighteen months of renovations. I stood, with David, just inside the front doors and watched people, with delight in their eyes, enter and quickly understand - intuitively - each space. Use of the building skyrocketed and has remained high ever since the transformation performed by David and his team.”Ken Roberts, former Chief Librarian Hamilton Public Library
“Thank you all SO MUCH for all your work on this project! We have all added a little bit of ourselves to the history of this building.”Jennifer Stacey, General Manager Ryerson Student Centre
“From start to finish, the team from DPAI was amazing to work with. Their attention to detail, commitment to quality work and focus on customer service resulted in an outcome that far surpassed our expectations. We were renovating an existing use research and educational space in an older building on a limited budget. The team from DPAI took the time to thoroughly assess our current and future needs and managed to channel our vision into design features that have had a lasting positive impact on all users of the space. We have found that the space is adaptable to our needs, robust in terms of utilization and comfortable and energizing to work in.”Maureen Jane MacDonald Ph.D., Professor & Acting Chair Department of Kinesiology, Acting Director PACE
“It was a pleasure for us to work with architects who understood so much about student needs and have a solid grounding in trends in the evolution and transformation of libraries. David and his team were very collaborative and responsive to our needs. They were ultimately able to unlock the potential within the constraints of a challenging building and were able to translate our vision into a dynamic learning space. The result resonates deeply with our students who have commented that the new space motivates, inspires and energizes them. Their only complaint is that we haven’t yet done the same with the rest of the library. I would welcome the opportunity to work with DPAI again would recommend their team without hesitation.”Chief Librarian Mark Robertson Brock University
“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
We fulfill our mission to Shape the World by choosing to create a positive social, economic and environmental impact through our work. Passive House is considered the most rigorous voluntary energy-based standard in the design and construction industry today. Passive House buildings consume up to 90% less heating and cooling energy than conventional buildings. Applicable to most 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 and consultants are qualified to create buildings that meet the standard.
Petra Matar and Mike Mazurkiewicz are certified Passive House Designers. David Premi, and Jamie Schneider, have also completed the 120A: Passive House Design and Construction course covering the technical, economic and political elements of Passive House buildings.
We have an immediate need for a Sr. Interior Designer. We are seeking a creative, self-starting Interior Designer with project management experience to join our growing team. Our ideal candidate is passionate about design and understands that good detailing is required to carry through architectural ideas and is interested in participating in proposal and marketing initiatives. The position is located at our downtown Hamilton studio, working collaboratively with clients, consultants and internal team on corporate commercial, public-sector and institutional projects. We offer a 4-day work week based on 36hrs in a hybrid workplace environment, with flexibility to shape your workday in a way that fits your lifestyle.
You are a creative problem solver with a collaborative outlook on teamwork, and care deeply about your role in mentorship. With a least 8-10 years of experience working in a studio environment, you are fully versed in Microsoft Project, Adobe Creative Suite, AutoCAD, BIM, Microsoft Office, 3D modeling and rendering software. You are interested in sustainable design and are either already accredited or have interest in obtaining a WELL AP. You are a Registered ARIDO Member.
We take great pride in our open and supportive work culture and promote a healthy and balanced environment for our people. If the above Candidate Profile describes you, and you feel you align with our values, we would be happy to hear from you!
To apply, please email your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. While all applications are sincerely appreciated, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.
DPAI is committed to an inclusive, equitable, and accessible workplace. By learning from each other’s differences, we gain strength through our people and our perspectives. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. To request accommodation, please contact us.