Where it all began...
For me, architecture is all about improving people’s lives. My career began with a sense of discovery, and a desire to use my imagination. I loved creating spaces that were responsive and crafted to meet people’s needs. I became interested in exploring the potential of light, and of daylight design in architecture. To this end, I undertook a Masters Degree in Lighting. It is an aspect of my practice that defines what I believe to be true – light brings architecture to life.
Then, in 2007, a trip to Shanghai became a crucial turning point. I was saddened to see that children can grow up in a place where you cannot see the blue sky and where night-time stars are virtually unknown to city dwellers. I could see the effects of mass development and it raised questions in my mind as to how I could change things – beyond helping just one client at a time.
DESIGN MORE | CONSUME LESS
The Shanghai trip led me to develop an idea – Design More | Consume Less – which has become our practice mantra. It is an idea that says that design is not intended to add to the problem but rather reduce the impact we make on our planet. I still love creating spaces that are responsive and crafted to meet people’s needs. But I am also interested in the creative re-use of spaces, in reducing the need to demolish and discard. Instead, we can reuse spaces and materials for contemporary needs and limit the impact of change on people and culture. In the same way, I use Passive House design principles to limit energy use while achieving a high degree of thermal comfort for occupants.
My commitment is to ensure DiMase Architects is an architecture studio that consistently meets the needs of our clients, my team and my family. I am also committed to ensuring the practice contributes to the wider community. I am involved in urban activism, and a committee member of the Citizens for Melbourne, a diverse group of individuals trying to reverse the government decision to build an Apple Mega-Store at Federation Square.
As well, for the past three years, the practice has enjoyed working with a variety of local artists to showcase and promote their work. The shopfront window of DiMase Architects, on Fitzroy’s busy St Georges Road, offers display space for works in a wide range of genres and styles. Each month a different artist’s work is exhibited, capturing the attention of locals passing by as well as the wider community. And each month we host an Exhibition Opening event, where we invite guests to hear about the exhibited work and to socialise. At these informal events, we celebrate the work of the artist, ask questions and hear about their specific interests and philosophy.
In essence, we open our doors to the community in ways that tries to make art and architecture more accessible to the public. Because, in the end, it really is all about improving people’s lives.