At DMA, we strive to create an inclusive culture and are committed to placing social value at the core of our practice.
At DMA we create social value through our work – it’s not only rewarding to “do the right thing” but it makes great business sense as well. This applies to the way we design buildings and places, and to the way we practice and connect with our communities and the wider construction industry.
We create opportunities for young people, encouraging and supporting them into careers in architecture and construction. Despite being a small practice, we offer over 30 structured work placements a year through our ‘Virtual Design Academy’, which came about because we were worried about the effects of young people not being able to get relevant experience during the pandemic. By utilising an online sharing platform to provide an open-learning experience that equips young people with highly relevant digital design skills, we are now able to offer our award-winning, five day, work experience programme as a hybrid experience with the flexibility of home working and/or in-office work experience. This means we can reach an even wider range of young people across the UK, so helping to address the skills shortage and lack of diversity in the profession.
We work with other like-minded partners including clients, schools, local authorities and charities to reach those who might not otherwise access these opportunities. With Class of Your Own we deliver the Design Engineer Construct (DEC) GCSE by providing class room based support that directly links education and industry, helping to tackle the skills gap in our industry. With the Construction Youth Trust we support and mentor students from local state schools who want to explore careers in architecture and, in doing so, have helped students gain university places. DMA also sponsor PLACED Academy, an exciting programme providing year-long support to young people starting their careers in the built environment. PLACED is a social enterprise that works across the North West to educate and engage people to make better places, and all of our Liverpool team are PLACED ambassadors, helping to deliver workshops and consultation events. In addition, we support apprenticeships. Both our Studio Manager and Studio Assistant started out as apprentices. Studio Manager, Jessica, is now studying part-time for a Masters in Sustainability and Behaviour Change, and Studio Assistant, Tessa, has been inspired by her experience working at DMA to study for a degree in Architecture.
At DMA we are committed to playing our part in responding to the climate emergency. By designing thermally efficient building envelopes, we minimise energy requirements and we select materials and sources of renewable energy to further reduce carbon. This applies to the re-use and improvement of existing buildings or spaces as well as to new buildings. DMA are proud to have minimised our own carbon footprint, becoming carbon neutral at the beginning of 2021. We are working towards achieving Net Zero by 2030, aligned to help our clients achieve their commitments, and we’re helping other SMEs on their sustainability journey by delivering the Heart of the City’s Climate Action Programme for SMEs on behalf of the City of London.
We enjoy using our professional skills and giving our time pro bono to help improve the places that we live and work in. As board members of Heart of the City, Westminster Business Council, The Fitzrovia Partnership (Business Improvement District) and the Fitzrovia Community Centre, we assist and support other local businesses, sharing knowledge and networks to help them grow and develop.
We worked with the team behind Maida Hill Place to create a new community café and commercial kitchen space, as well as other groups such as Fitzrovia Youth in Action, where we helped to transform a large unused basement to create new space for meetings, events and performances for this Camden based group who create opportunities for young people through music and sport. We helped the Fourth Feathers Youth and Community Centre in Marylebone with the redesign of their internal and external spaces and we are working with the Barnstondale Centre, an inclusive outdoor education and activity centre on the Wirral, to design a new, highly sustainable, outdoor classroom.
Our professional community matters to us as well and we are active members of the RIBA, contributing to a number of initiatives around education, social value and new technologies as well as being founder members of MIPIM Ladies, a network of women in property and construction that comes together to meet and share ideas, promoting an inclusive approach.
We are working hard to overturn industry norms by encouraging people to join us from the broadest range of backgrounds. This way we make the most of all available talent pools, reflect the communities that we work in and use our diversity to find new solutions to our clients’ challenges.
The social value created by DMA has been recognised by numerous awards including:
Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award for Inclusive Employment 2022 (shortlisted, awaiting results)
Constructing Excellence People Development 2022
BIM for Good 2020
GivX Top Ten SME 2019
Global Good SME of the Year 2019
Westminster Lion Award 2018
Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award for Inclusive Employment 2018
Constructing Excellence SME of the Year 2017
CECA Inspiring Change SME Award 2017
“DMA really get the importance of diversity! They open their doors to kids from all backgrounds and come up with creative ways to bring out the best in even the hardest to reach pupils who have been excluded. It’s definitely “opportunities for all” at DMA - made even more impressive by the fact that this small company is having more impact than many of the big businesses.”
“The ability for this company to provide work experience sessions to teach us practically about architecture/Revit/Enscape impressively in a week (software completely unknown to me before all this) and to give students confidence in their work honestly blows me away. I feel that I've learnt more in 5 days than I have in my lifetime within school … The positive vibes were outstanding :) ”
“This project has been part of transforming an area which had been a challenge for the community for decades. DMA not only provided technical support but have been a constant source of re-assurance and, morale boosts when the going got hard and incredible professionalism. It is not too far of a stretch to say that we could not have done this without them.”