Experience, insight, passion, commitment. It is the rigour of our thinking that sets us apart.

Paul McKay presents at the WAD 2017 World Youth Designer Conference in Shenzhen

On 4th November, Paul McKay from our Hong Kong studio attended the WAD 2017 World Youth Designer Conference in Shenzhen. The event was intended as a forum for foreign designers working in the Chinese market to interact with developers, contractors, and government in order to further mutual understanding and respect. 

Organised under the auspices of the Shenzhen city government, the one-day conference was attended by developers, government officials, and designers from more than 30 countries and territories. 

Paul participated in a round table discussion chaired by Keat Ong, President of the Singapore Society of Interior Designers, on the subject of Interactions Between International Design and China’s Market, sharing his thoughts on models of co-operation between Chinese clients and overseas designers.

“The basis of every good relationship is communication. Communication is not just a matter of language, it’s a matter of establishing shared values and a common vision. This allows the client to be more open with the design team, and participate more fully in the briefing and design process. It also means that the design team can understand the logic behind the client’s decision making, which avoids the situation of ‘same bed, different dreams.”

New Associate Appointments

The Directors of PMDL Architecture + Design, Andrew Pender, David Morris, Peter Doddrell, Vicki Van Dijk, Donna Payne and Simon Fallon are proud to announce the appointment of additional Associates to the Melbourne and Hong Kong studios.

We know that you will join us in congratulating Kylie Beard, in Melbourne, and Paul McKay, in Hong Kong, and wishing them well in their new roles.


Melbourne Studio celebrates 15 years

The PMDL Melbourne studio has celebrated fifteen years since it's establishment.

Donna Payne, who has lead the studio since formation, said " I find it  hard to believe that Melbourne studio has turned 15 even through I have lived every minute of it, all of its triumphs, changes and evolution.  It has been an interesting  and exciting journey."

The team has grown and developed specific skills and experetise across a range of projects and sectors and is currently delivering significant works for Hoyts, ICM, Future Fund, IMAX, DET and other key clients, and working collaboartively with the Sydney and Hong Kong studios.

We look forward to continued growth and more exciting projects.

Warren Marsh retirement

It is with regret, we wish to advise that Warren will be taking a well earned retirement as of Friday 28 July 2017.

He has been an important part of the PMDL team since 1999, lending his expertise and experience to many projects and mentoring younger team members.  He will remain keenly part of the design world and emotionally connected to long term clients.

We wish him all the best as he commences this next part of his journey and thank him for all his input, enthusiasm and commitment.

Junior School On the Move - A New Prep School at Barker College Hornsby

Junior School poised to add another wonderful chapter in the life of this corner of the School.

Barker college will commence its transition to a fully coeducational school by 2022 and the first milestone is to open a new co-ed Prep School in 2018.

We have been working closely with the College for the last year to make this vision a reality and in the recent Barker College’s quarterly newsletter Martin Lubrano, Head of Junior School explained in detail the School’s vision for the new Prep and Junior School. See full article in link below.

We are extremely excited and look forward to starting construction!


Award for St Augustine's College, Brookvale new Primary and Science facilities

The new St Augustines’ College, Brookvale, Junior School and Science facilities add an agile teaching and learning centre to the existing campus as the result of an overall campus Masterplan.

St Augustine's College Brookvale new Primary and Science facilities have received a Commendation in the inaugural Learning Environments Australasia NSW Chapter Awards for 2016 in the New Facilities category.  The judges comments include:

• Overall a well designed area catering for all different learning styles.

• Particularly impressed with the notion of clean and dirty spaces - recognising what learning is actually like.

• Liked the attention paid to professional learning spaces for staff.

Opportunities for collaboration and celebration are optimised with the strength of connections making this much more than just a collection of “classrooms” and corridors. The reinvention of existing buildings has created new and exciting spaces with the new civic heart centred on the food and retail offer.  The organisation of building footprints are optimised for future reinvention and adaptation. 

Explore the PMDL virtual world

To celebrate the end of 2016 and the start of 2017 we would like you to explore a new PMDL 3D world using the PMDL cardboard viewer and your mobile phone.

3D World Link

We look forward to sharing your projects with you in the near future.

Simple instructions:

1. Click on the above link.

2. Remove protection from lenses & place your mobile into the viewer with the link active.

3. Explore our virtual studio and team in 3D.

4. Change your navigation by looking down and clicking on selected mode.

If you have any problems contact us.



Seasons Greetings

The Opera: The Eighth Wonder - Emily Leung

Without collaboration and computational methods of design, such incredible projects could never be realised

We would like to give a big congratulations to our talented intern, Emily Leung, a student at UNSW, who’s work was selected to be showcased at the Sydney Opera House as part of the world’s first large-scale silent opera - The Opera: The Eighth Wonder.

Through an intense 2 week design workshop, Emily’s design of the overall structure, together with her fellow student Narissa Bungbrakearti’s original design of the 3D printed nodes was selected and produced to be the final Sydney Opera Bar VIP Centrepiece.

The Sydney Opera Bar VIP Centrepiece is a scaled down physical embodiment of the iconic Opera House in Sydney. Not only is it re-interpreted through the aesthetics of the sculptural form of the shells, as well as references poetically tied together in the waves as suggested by the context of the site and opera music, but it also expresses the story of architecture which requires the practice of collaboration between the areas of design, engineering and manufacturing. 

This process began as an 8 day project to design and structurally simulate a bar table design giving consideration to using the least amount of timber struts and 3D printed nodes. Numerous design iterations involving collaborations with engineers, architects and manufacturers from UNSW, RMIT and design firms such as Bollinger Grohmann were experimented with before the final product was realised. 

Made up of 3 elements (timber, acrylic and 3D printed nodes), many versions occurred between the original design and the final product. The reality of designing and building complex objects is ensconced in this project by the non-linear process that enforces deeper exploration through iterations allowing creative decision making to occur between all parties.

The unique geometry that form the elegant shells of the Sydney Opera Bar VIP Centrepiece could only be achieved through the application of computational methods when constrained by a short period of time. When coupled with the digital fabrication method of 3D printing, the bar table additionally expresses rapid prototyping processes to be heavily relevant as one of the most widely used tools in constructing complex geometries today. Furthermore, the interconnected workflows between parametric scripting and digital fabrication has allowed for the evolution of mass customization to become the new norm from standard mass production.

The design will be showcasing at the Sydney Opera House – The Opera: The Eighth Wonder until 5 November, after which it will be displayed at The Red Centre at UNSW. 

Credits Opera Bar Table

Project lead

A/Prof M. Hank Haeusler (UNSW CoDe)


Emily Leung (UNSW CoDe)

Narissa Bungbrakearti (UNSW CoDe)

Design support

Montanna Green (UNSW CoDe)

Sarah Xaviera (UNSW CoDe)

Simon Giang (UNSW CoDe)

Rebekah Araullo (UNSW CoDe)

Node optimisation 

Manuel Muehlbauer (SIAL / RMIT)

A/Prof Jane Burry (SIAL / RMIT)

Structural optimisation

Dr Sascha Bohnenberger (Bollinger Grohmann)

Construction coordination

Marjo Niemela (Design Futures / UNSW)

Construction team

Peter Kowalski (Design Futures / UNSW)

Edward Iverach (Design Futures / UNSW) 

Gabriel Undery (Design Futures / UNSW)

3d Printing

Kin Ly (Design Futures / UNSW)

Project management

Marie Caccamo


Canadian International School presentation by Mikaela Black

The students really look forward to having guests come in. Mikaela’s presentation really helped my students understand the design cycle, said Ms. Costner

On Friday 2nd September, Mikaela Black from our Hong Kong Studio volunteered her time with the Canadian International School grade three class for a presentation to assist with their current unit of investigation called “How the World Works”. The aim of the presentation was to give the students a better understanding of what architecture is, what architects do, and the process we go through in order to communicate our ideas. There were 5 classes of 25 students all eagerly waiting to ask questions at the end. “The students look forward to having guests come in and Mikaela’s presentation really helped my students understand the design cycle,” said Ms. Costner, a teacher of one class. “I hope they can continue their program of inquiry with a better understanding of what architecture actually is, and what architects really do.”

PMDL would like to thank the Canadian International School for inviting Mikaela to their school, and we are always thrilled to be able to inspire the next generation of young designers.

Strathcona Wins Boroondara Urban Design Citation

PMDL receives Boroondara Urban Design Award

PMDL receives a commendation for the Best Institutional Development - schools and hospitals at the Boroondara Urban Design Awards 2016. It was a great pleasure to work with Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar School to deliver their Learning Centre providing 21st Knowledge Exchange, Middle School and state of the art Science Discovery facilities.

The award recognises Strathcona's respect for its neighbourhood and commitment to the wider community.

This latest building on the site has become a heart for the school and a convivial space enjoyed by students and staff alike. The space has been enhanced by the visual connection to the oval and the quality of the design.


PMDL Scholarship update from Rachael Drayton

Rachael Drayton returned earlier this year from her travels as part of the PMDL Scholarship 2015. Rachael visited a number of exemplar schools that represent their cultural context around the world and met with the architects to study how particular design processes impact learning and teaching spaces.

Singapore - Singapore Management University Lab - United World College of South East Asia

Portland, England - Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy (IPACA) UK Learning

Glasgow, Scotland - Lairdsland Primary School Walters and Cohen

Seattle, USA - Vashon Island High School Integrus Architecture - Wilkes Elementary, Bainbridge Island Mahlum Architects

Portland, USA - Trillium Creek Primary School IBI Group

“From my observations the majority of these schools have a thorough design process, where the architects engage the school community and boarder stakeholders in visioning exercises. Through this process the school clearly articulates their ambition and architects gain great understanding of the schools vision. Each example produces bold architectural statements with spirited personality and identity relating to place, while being dynamic, focused and supportive 21st century learning spaces.

I am thankful for the school personnel and architects who were so generous with their time. Their passion and wisdom is inspiring and the spaces they create are motivational. These schools and professionals are drivers of change, not only for their educational initiative but also for their architectural merit.”

Rachael presents to our office next week and her findings will be available for download in the near future.

PMDL Interface Floor project installation - Mindfulness

Interface Floor invited PMDL to participate in their installation project:


PMDL's  response was centred on the premise of:


Within the collective of natural rhythms, patterns and geometric primitives comes a general sense of familiarity. This familiarity is our natural memory. In contrast to our cultural memory: a memory that is derived from cultural decorums. The natural memory is our identifiable logic, an internal mechanism of identification through patterns, shapes and configurations that has allowed us to navigate an understanding of our inner and outer environments from childhood onwards. These primitive geometries form everything from our personal boundaries, our living spaces and our wider urban boundaries and borders in which we inhabit. These geometries can be both permeable, semi-permeable and non-permeable. Allowing or restricting this flux creates a tangible inquiry into what a mindful space is in its simplest primitive identification; and furthermore how we as the individual or collective relate to this.

The PMDL team created the instllation in the photographer's studio and the result will be featured in upcoming Interface Floor publications.

The following link will take you to the Interface Floor youtube video : http://youtu.be/Spzs69i6AFI


Identifying common traits and characteristics of “mindful spaces,” and the manor in which they present themselves to the individual gives way to a recurrent set of emerging themes. Curating and refining these themes to a point of diminutive simplicity unveils a series of natural rhythms, patterns and geometric primitives.

LEFT : Andrew Pender attends Harvard Education Workshop

Andrew Pender has recently returned from Boston, having attended the Learning Environments for Tomorrow program at Harvard. Presented jointly by the Graduate School of Education and the Graduate School of Design the program centred around a collaborative design studio with a focus on the development of relevant contemporary pedagogy and physical environments as mutually supportive elements of teaching and learning. Teams of educators and architects were encouraged to attend and Andrew spent valuable time working with representatives of Pymble Ladies College on initiatives being explored for the College.

Andrew comments: “It was an invaluable experience, and a rare opportunity to explore these themes so intensely with stimulus from some very insightful leaders. I am looking forward to developing this thinking with Pymble, and to sharing the insights with our team.”

Australian schools and educational bodies sent a total of 16 participants to LEFT, which clearly demonstrates the local commitment to understanding ad creating contemporary learning environments.

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