Design that works.
We believe that exceptional architecture, art, and design transform how we live. We combine practical problem solving with a passion for improving the built environment. We are a Toronto based architecture and design firm.
DWA believes in the fundamental importance of careful listening. Our clients are our partners. It’s our job to understand their underlying needs and motivations and translate them into design that works.
DWA believes that exceptional design is intimately connected to performance, practicality, and good results. We take pride in our proficiency. We do not propose ideas that will not work.
DWA provides service across every phase of project delivery. We provide detailed planning and building tools to help ensure a smooth process at every step. We follow through with thoroughness and rigour.
Established in 2011, DWA provides a wide range of services based on our broad experience in interior and architectural design across multiple sectors. We are a full-service architectural practice, working through all phases of planning, design and construction. Technically fluent and equipped with a very strong production capacity, we are immersed in leading edge discussions around urban issues, construction practices and emerging technology, and we consult on a wide range of topics related to design, including accessibility, heritage, real estate, condition assessments, building envelope and master planning. Through our network, we have access to leading experts, clients, consultants, contractors and trade specialists.
Our experience across a range of sectors is described below.
Retail, office, industrial, entertainment, hospitality.
The stories of people’s lives unfold and cross through commercial spaces every day and the way these spaces interconnect deserves careful consideration in order to reach their full potential. Our experience working on both the landlord and tenant side allows us to be a valuable partner in the wide landscape of this symbiotic world. DWA works with leading commercial and retail clients and is able to compete with larger, established practices for this work, including new build, interior design, large-scale urban design studies, building envelope upgrades, and building condition assessments. Although we are a boutique-sized practice, we are uncommonly capable in the technical delivery of projects, and we produce contract documents of exceptional quality, such as for a 128 room architectural boutique hotel (Toronto, ON).
We are currently working on large renovations to major shopping malls in the GTA and across Southern Ontario. We are comfortable at the micro scale but are also able to handle constructed projects with budgets of up to $120M. Our responsive approach will help you to achieve your potential in design excellence, brand consistency and the full integration of the critical systems that support your operation. We are invested in your success and will help make sure that your spaces for work actually work for you.
Custom homes, multi-family residences.
Home is the place where people most intimately interact with design. Whatever the scale, residential projects must manage successively quieter thresholds between the public world and the privacy of a home. Our experience in housing development projects in Canada and the UK, from small multi-unit homes (4+ units) to urban-scale, mixed use projects (200+ units), gives us the confidence to be creative in realizing the full value and opportunities in a site. We are strategic in addressing the different programming and budget needs of varied types of ownership and tenure, including rental, private purchase and social housing, and we offer a refreshing blend of design sophistication and technical knowledge to help you meet development milestones.
On the smaller scale of a private home, we work to interpret your family’s tastes, needs and values. It takes care and empathy to come to an understanding of what will work for each individual household and making sure that there is a good fit between the designer and client is the first important step in the process of building a new private home.
Public Sector Projects:
Public art, healthcare, heritage, transportation, cultural, religious buildings.
The spaces of public life define a city and offer a direct opportunity to positively influence lives. Civic institutions, libraries, galleries, and healthcare facilities often serve purposes beyond their immediate function and their design must combine attractiveness, durability, flexibility, and sustainability in equal measure. Our experience encompasses civic and public spaces and buildings, as well as the design of transportation infrastructure at both the small scale and large scale.
We take a socially-aware approach to looking at public spaces, and to building community across barriers. DWA’s senior staff are Public Interest Designers (PID) and we are committed to the 1+ programme with at least 1% of our time going to pro bono work each year. Most recently, DWA has worked with the artist-run-centre, Open Studio in Toronto, to assist them in the reconfiguration of their gallery and retail shop spaces to draw in visitors. We also assisted All Saints Church & Community Centre with their heritage grant application for masonry restoration as part of the 1+ programme over several years. Our approach is cooperative, responsive and user-oriented, and we employ a detailed discovery process to develop a design that is a true reflection of your organization’s mission and mandate while fulfilling your operational needs.
DWA’s Michael Donaldson and Dana Tosic also possess a strong background in visual art and have produced award-winning public art projects such as, How Bright is Our Future?, but we can also help clients procure artwork, manage competitions and coordinate the installation of technically challenging pieces.