David McRobie is the founder and president of DSMA. A 1973 graduate of the McGill School of Architecture, his professional development began in 1974 at Sankey Partnership Architects, a national architectural firm, working in its Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver offices, before becoming a partner in 1979. By opening its office in Ottawa, David foresaw opportunities in the national capital region, in public transportation, government sector growth and private sector commercial development. In 1989 he took over the Ottawa operations and renamed the firm David S McRobie Architects Inc.
A licensed Architect in Ontario and Quebec and member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, David has distinguished himself as a design communicator, mentor to young architects and effective manager of the firm’s resources ensuring consistent high quality in the delivery of DSMA’s services. Under David’s guidance, professionalism, integrity and fairness in dealing with clients, consultants and suppliers have been and continue to be hallmarks of DSMA.
There are many reasons why this is an exciting time to practice architecture, including the emergence of seamless computer technologies for communication of ideas to our clients, greater awareness of sustainable practices for protection of the Earth’s resources and the introduction of new and better performing materials for our buildings. The world needs more problem solvers and the design professions represent the best hope for our future.
William joined the firm in 1981 shortly after the office’s founding in Ottawa and quickly rose to job captain for the firm’s urban design portfolio. A graduate of Carleton University’s architecture program in 1977, William registered with the Ontario Association of Architects in the mid-1980s and went on to become the Ottawa office’s first Associate and later, Vice-President. William has been an active promoter of the profession from his earliest days: first as Treasurer for the Regional Society of Architects and lately as the Regional Co-coordinator and mentor for the RAIC Syllabus Program.
His involvement with the profession stems from his earliest exposure to the built environment. Although it was growing up during the late 50s and early 60s with the then-emerging Modernist Movement that sparked his interest, it has been the adaptive re-use of buildings that has been the thrust of his professional life. From this has come an understanding of historical building systems, experience in the re-use of space and structure, familiarity in the application of life-safety measures and care in the management of resources.
Architects are extremely privileged to practice their profession. As leaders of a complex activity, architects are entrusted with their clients’ resources and producing an uplifting result. In addition, architects must respect the concerns for those not part of the process but who will be nonetheless affected and, particularly in the realm of renovation, for the contributions of those before.
James graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from Carleton University in 1983 and joined David S McRobie Architects in 1989 during the transition of the predecessor firm. James has been responsible for the planning and design of many of the firm’s significant office, retail and industrial projects as well as high-profile interior work at Ottawa’s Nortel and Skyline campuses. With his extensive knowledge of construction techniques and understanding of sequencing, he has successfully applied his considerable design capability to the straightforward realization of his clients’ visions.
Great buildings result from the commitment and dedication of the Client and the Architect working together to a successful outcome – successful in realizing the collective vision. It is this relationship between the Client and Architect that we seek in all the work we do, regardless of scale.
The catalyst for Tony’s career in architecture came at a young age through construction site visits with his father, who worked for a local construction company. In 1986 Tony graduated from Algonquin College with his Architectural Technician Diploma. Tony joined David S. McRobie Architects in 1996 and in 2005 became a member of the Ontario Association for Applied Architectural Sciences.
Tony’s involvement in projects includes the management of construction document production and construction contract administration. Tony has also taken on the management and implementation of the office electronic data systems.
My goal with each new project is to ensure that our client receives a building that is architecturally relevant and one that performs from an operations perspective. Teamwork and dedication on the part of the entire design team is a key factor in reaching this goal.
Johanna attended the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba to earn a Bachelor of Interior Design in 1987. She secured her National Council for Interior Design Qualification accreditation in 1988 and is a long-standing member of the Association of Interior Designers of Ontario and the Interior Designers of Canada. In 1993 she joined David S. McRobie Architects.
Johanna was drawn to interior design through her love of colour and an interest in how people interact within their environment. She cites nature as her design influence as it presents an ideal model from which to gain inspiration. Johanna describes how her skills are applied to her Interior Design projects:
I love to design our clients’ workplaces to be logical, efficient and fluid. I relish organizing and communicating our clients’ requirements. On corporate projects I become immersed in their company, how they work and how best to apply this knowledge to the design of their space.
Chris joined David S. McRobie Architects in 2003, a year after he graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Architecture. He earned his Ontario Association of Architects license and his LEED®AP designation in 2008. He is also a long-time member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.
Chris finds satisfaction in guiding a project from its inception to its completion and in taking an active role during construction by building positive relationships with clients and contractors. For Chris the most rewarding part of his work and the ultimate learning tool is seeing ideas coming to life. Chris says that the visual world serves as his source of creative stimulus:
I’m a visual person. I try to gain inspiration from the world around me: the source could be anything from movies I watch to automotive or industrial design. I look at shapes, colours and textures and wonder how they could be translated to a project I am working on.
Jill earned a Bachelor of Architecture from McGill University in 1996 and began her career in Paris. After gaining experience on commercial, care occupancy and mass transportation projects in Ontario, she attained her license with the Ontario Association of Architects in 2004 and joined David S. McRobie Architects in 2005. Jill is a LEED Accredited Professional and recently became a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.
Jill is enthused by architectural opportunities to fill in our urban fabric, revitalize old buildings, improve the ways we travel and reach new sustainability goals. Her favorite DSMA project presented plenty of these opportunities:
Working on the initial study for Ottawa’s new light rail system was fascinating. I enjoyed looking at our city on a large scale, examining how our public spaces function and considering the technical challenges posed by 13 km of rail in established urban areas with a tunnel carved through the bedrock under downtown’s existing buildings.
Theresa enjoyed a term as a co-op student at David S. McRobie Architects in 2011 and returned the following year upon receiving her Bachelor of Applied Arts in Interior Design from Algonquin College. She is an intern with the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario. At DSMA she is involved with working drawings and furniture plans, and is excited to have added 3D modeling to her array of skills. Innovative interior design, furniture and product designs inspire her work:
I am drawn to edgy and bold designs and enjoy learning about the creative process that led the designer from initial concept to final drawings and specifications. I find the process of design to be equally fascinating to the end product.
Rhennie joined us late in 2014 after completing his diploma as an Architectural Technologist at Algonquin and has quickly become an invaluable part of the DSMA team. With a lifelong interest in creative expression, Rhennie initially studied and worked in television animation before shifting his focus to the architectural industry. About his most favoured type of work he tells us:
So far I like working on the Ottawa LRT development. It is inspiring to see what will be achieved in the near future.
Jordan had a strong early interest in design and construction, having been influenced by his mother’s artistic talent which prompted him to draw. His interest grew with completing a course in architectural drafting in high school, which soon led him to an Ontario College Advanced Diploma in Architectural Technology from Algonquin College in 2006. He joined the Association of Architectural Technologists of Ontario and began his career at David S. McRobie Architects the same year.
Jordan has contributed to light rail, bus rapid transit and office building projects during his years at DSMA but names one of his current projects as a favorite:
I am enjoying working on the City of Ottawa’s new pedestrian overpass which will span the Queensway linking the Train Station to the municipal baseball stadium. It is the first of its kind for me. It has been a rewarding challenge and I am looking forward to my first experience of walking over it.
David obtained a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Calgary in 1989. He has acted as Controller for David S. McRobie Architects since 1989. David’s oversight of financial reporting is pivotal to the growth and success of the firm.
Motivated by an interest in visual arts and physics, Eric pursued studies at Carleton University and completed his professional degree at the University of Waterloo, graduating with a Master of Architecture with Commendation in 2009. Having joined David S. McRobie Architects in 2009, Eric participates in all stages of projects with a focus on the early design phase where he produces 3D models and renderings. In his design work Eric looks for a balance of artistic expression and the constraints of building materials. This focus is echoed in his personal artistic explorations:
I spend much of my personal time immersed in the world of visual art and science. I am an avid painter and I rely on these interests to explore scale and space through the juxtaposition of colours and geometry.
Trish attended Humber College of Applied Arts & Technology and in 1994 earned her Interior Design Diploma. She has been a registered Interior Designer since 2000. Her interior design career includes undertakings in Toronto and Calgary before joining David S. McRobie Architects in 2011.
Trish finds satisfaction in gaining the confidence of her clients through attentive service, good communication and efficient problem solving. Trish employs her strengths in team-work and collaboration at DSMA and easily describes why she is devoted to her work:
I am passionate about understanding my clients’ needs and translating them into a functional environment that supports their daily activities. It’s not just about making an aesthetically pleasing space – it’s about creating spaces that support people in achieving their goals.
Ingrid is an honours graduate with a Diploma of Interior Design from Algonquin College and joined David S. McRobie Architects in 2007. In addition to being a Registered Interior Designer, Ingrid also received a Certificate in Project Management from Algonquin College in 2010.
Ingrid contributes her design and management skills to a wide range of projects sizes, applying the same level of attention to detail and dedication to all. She is a key member of the interior design department but also provides valuable knowledge and expertise to architectural projects at DSMA.
My job is to clarify to the client what to anticipate as we move through a project. This helps to manage expectations and alleviate communication barriers, resulting in a smooth design and implementation process.
Marie has been a member of the team at David S. McRobie Architects since 2003. She became licensed after earning her Masters in Architecture from Carleton University and also became a LEED Accredited Professional in 2009. At DSMA she contributes to many areas, from construction details to master plans, while maintaining a strong focus on design.
Marie’s career in architecture originated from an early fascination with design and assembly. She finds architecture is a great way to challenge both her creative side and her interest in problem solving. Her design explorations reflect her enthusiasm and talent for experimenting with building materials and methods.
I love the simple clean lines of modern architecture and materials, but I also love rustic materials like weathered cedar and heavy wrought iron.
Having earned a Bachelor of Architectural Science from Ryerson University in 2008, Ilya started his architectural career in the San Francisco Bay area. He relocated home to Ottawa in 2011 and joined David S. McRobie Architects that year.
Ilya’s enthusiasm for architecture arose from an interest in how people interact with the built environment as observed by living abroad in early life and being fortunate enough to travel and visit numerous places. His contribution to a favourite DSMA project drew on his 3D visualization and spatial problem-solving skills:
The Creative Learning Centre at Ashbury College involves placing a new addition at the heart of the school. The addition integrates the new and the old and will greatly enhance the college while seamlessly maintaining the character and park-like setting of the campus.
Ryan’s first sight of a Toronto skyscraper initiated his desire to design buildings. He graduated with a Masters of Architecture from Carleton University in 2010. Much of his work during university was focused on tall buildings and vertical cities. He joined David S. McRobie Architects in 2010 and is currently completing the Intern Architect Program with the Ontario Association of Architects. His work at DSMA has focused on concept design and 3D visualization with a recent involvement in construction administration. Given his love for the verticality of architecture his sources of design inspiration are not surprising:
A large part of my inspiration is futurist architecture (Neo-futurism/Lebbeus Woods). Much of this stems from a love of science fiction, sci-fi film, graphic novels and concept art. Abstract and imagined worlds have qualities outside the constraints and limitations of our own.
Ian studied at Carleton University and graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture in 1997. After two years of working in Ohio on large infrastructure projects he joined David S. McRobie Architects. Having been inspired by its strong lines and simple elegance, Ian names the “International Style” as a key source of design inspiration. When asked about his favorite DSMA project Ian replied:
The Ashbury College Boys’ Residence presented a unique opportunity. I enjoyed working with a client who has a high standard of design expectations. There were numerous regulatory challenges as well as concerns within the community which had to be addressed. Although it was an involved process – sometimes requiring us to re-visit the first principles of the design – the result is a building of exceptional quality and character which blends into the neighbourhood while providing a dramatic gateway to its community.
Diane handles many of the day to day operations at DSMA with a calm competence that keeps things running smoothly for the whole team. Since joining DSMA, she is enjoying her interaction with the creative people and processes involved in shaping the communities and skylines of the Ottawa area.