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 are wholeheartedly committed to creating social value through our work, it’s not only rewarding to “do the right thing” but it makes great business sense as well. As architects we make sure that all of our buildings enhance the environment and improve outcomes for their users but we are also committed to creating social value through the way we practice and our relationship with our community and the wider construction industry.
Through partnerships, we encourage and support young people into the many rewarding careers that architecture and construction offer. We particularly look to students who might not otherwise have access to our industry.
With Class of Your Own we deliver the innovative new 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. We also support DEC with the new Sir Simon Milton Westminster University Technical College. Through Open City Accelerate into University, and The Social Mobility Foundation we mentor sixth form students from local state schools who want to explore careers in architecture and, in doing so, have helped talented students gain places at Westminster and Cambridge universities. We collaborate with local schools and Local Authorities to provide around 16 week-long work placements every year that are open to all. We mentor and support student teams who participate in the University of Westminster’s annual Fab Fest collaboration, helping them to project plan and build their designs. In addition, we support apprenticeships. Our first Practice Administrator developed her role over just 3 years to Practice Manager and our latest Studio Assistant is another valuable asset to our growing team.
At DMA 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 Westminster Business Council and as part of The Fitzrovia Partnership 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 with other groups such as Paddington Arts, , who promote achievement for young people through music, dance and media, and Vital Regen, whose work improved the lives of people living in some of London’s most deprived neighbourhoods. A current project is with Fitzrovia Youth in Action, where we are transforming 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 play their team at five-a-side regularly – they always win!).
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.
The social value created by DMA was recognised by two UK awards in 2017, the CECA Inspiring Change SME Award and the Constructing Excellence SME of the Year, and two more in 2018 with a Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award and a Westminster Lion Award. DMA’s Investors in People Gold Standard demonstrates our commitment to developing people and we are regularly placed in Building’s Top 50 Good Employer Guide. The practice also has a well-being policy of positive investment in our working environment that has been recognised by the London Healthy Workplace Charter and earned us Mayoral Accreditation.
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.
“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.”
“On behalf of Heathcote School I would like to thank you for this fantastic work placement that you have afforded to Charlie. During our mentoring session today, Charlie has been able to draw upon this fabulous experience to really pin down why he loves architecture and his genuine interest in exploring this avenue as a career.”
“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.”