Antony Di Mase’s architectural practice has come a long way since operating from the back room of his father’s real estate agency.
The practice has recently designed a passive warehouse with very low energy requirements, due to start construction in July.
We asked Antony how he incorporates sustainability into his homes and about his favourite projects.
How and when was Di Mase Architects started?
I started Di Mase Architects in the back room of my father’s real estate agency in 2002. I had over a decade of experience working in large and small firms around Australia, and I was ready to move out into my own practice. I was motivated to create an architectural practice that was more accessible to everyone, and make architecture that was for and of the community.
In the beginning it was just my drafting board and me, but now I employ three staff and the drafting board has left the building!
Are there some basic design principles that you apply to your houses to achieve sustainability goals or is it the kind of thing that might change from homeowner to homeowner?
Sustainability goals do change from homeowner to homeowner, and budgets can affect how much we do. However, we do bring three core philosophies of sustainable practice to all of our projects, regardless of scale. Our philosophies are reuse, efficiency and daylighting. From the outset we look for opportunities to reuse the existing building, materials and sometimes fittings, which is inherently sustainable. This requires experience, respect for the history of a building and more care, but we believe it is well worth it.
Efficiency, both in terms of materials and thermal, is also a core concern of ours. We aim to design with little material excess and also consider the life cycle of our building’s components. Thermal efficiency is beginning to be an area of specialty for Di Mase, as one of my staff has recently become a certified passive house designer. The thermal performance and air tightness of our buildings is considered from the beginning, rather than just being contemplated on during documentation.
Making good use of natural light as an internal light source is one of our greatest passions. It is abundant, completely free, and helps create healthier and more buoyant interiors. Everyone has a relationship to light, and we work our designs to embrace and celebrate this relationship. I’m currently undertaking postgraduate study and focusing on daylighting to help keep the practice on the edge of developments in this area.
Have there been any favourite projects along the way – what were they and why?
I love and value every project we do, so it is difficult to pick a favourite. One project that I’m really excited about is our passive warehouse that is about to commence construction. It combines all three of our philosophies and the client has invested in pursuing a stringent thermal efficiency standard.
Designed using Passive House principles, the expected performance of this house is amazing: the estimated energy required to heat this two-storey, three‐bedroom house will be equivalent to a small bar heater. There is also going to be a beautiful, soaring two storey light well that will bathe the living areas and entry with natural light. It’s a great project with great clients, and we are excited about it starting on site in July.
Visit Di Mase Architects website.
Visit the Sanctuary Sustainable Design Directory.