In conversation with | David Morris

What made you study or enter the design world?
I grew up in Wellington New Zealand at a time when the old city fabric was being challenged by changes in the earthquake codes and an enormous amount of heritage buildings came under threat. It was an exciting time to witness modern architecture creating so much debate and I grew to love the old buildings sadly in their departure. In particular Ian Athfield- one of New Zealands’ most famous Architects- was delivering a highly individualistic house on the most prominent hill side in the city at that time and its wild and challenging form amazed people and it still does this for me today. 

Can you describe an evolution in your work from when you began until today? 
I’ve tried to remain open minded in my appreciation of architectural form and space. As a graduate I hated brutalism with a passion and over time learnt to understand its beauty and contribution. I think this is because my generation were strongly contextualist in approach and to consider design with an intent to offer impact rather than interact with site was somewhat confronting. Its great to accept both offer legitimacy.

Recent innovation that has made you stop and think?
Beyond doubt the advances in prefabrication in Architecture. We are seeing a new generation of lighter, stronger and more environmentally appropriate materials and assembly becoming more and more accessible offering speed and durability. 

What was the biggest step/milestone in the history of PMDL?
Looking back starting the business remains the biggest step but watching the slow departure of our close friend and partner Scott Lamb through brain cancer remains the biggest challenge we could ever face. 

The Nanjing Masterplan was a significant project for you and the PMDL team.
I enjoy the challenge in navigating through the complexity of handling many needs, interests and ambitions in the choreographing of urban form and space. The Nanjing masterplan added additional challenges being in a major city in central mainland China. I’m very proud of our winning competition entry and showcase Australian design thinking.

Nanjing Maple Science Park Masterplan

You are an expert in cinema design. How do you see it evolving over the next 5 year? 
The fundamental will always remain relevant with regards to inspiring patrons with the quality of overall experience but we will continue to see the evolution of the hospitality offer and associated value add. In terms of the viewing experience LED technology will continue to evolve and become cheaper and better offering a legitimate replacement of projected technologies. I think the customer will be amazed at the even greater sense of immersion that cinema will eventually offer. 

Can you remember the last time you were really impressed by a space?
Great question this one! The new IMAX in Darling Harbour is going to offer an amazing space and cinematic experience. Can’t wait to have it fully realised. 

What do you think is the most effective way of presenting a project?
Our profession has got overtly preoccupied in offering high quality rendering of projects in extraordinary detail and we have now educated client expectations. What we have lost in the journey is the ability to inspire clients with the spirit of place and a sense of occasion that a simple hand sketch can deliver. If anything I can see a slow realisation within our cohort and a return to simple mediums. Bring on the water coloured elevation!