Christopher Dunkerley

Director and Nominated Architect (Reg 4694), DTB Architects Pty Ltd

B.Sc.(Arch), B.Arch; UNSW 1977   *   Chartered Architect since 1984   *      Member RAIA(AIA) since 1993


Following graduation Chris spent around eighteen months at the University of NSW working as a research assistant and tutor in the areas of natural lighting design and environmental design (primarily solar energy research.)  Late in 1979, he travelled to the United Kingdom and spent four years working in architectural practices engaged in hospitality, commercial, recreational, residential and industrial fields.   During this time he also gained extensive experience in the area of measuring and recording older buildings.   As a young architect in a small firm Chris was made project architect for a large hotel complex Oakleigh Court, situated on the banks of the river Thames, at Windsor (UK), a project which involved two new buildings, extensive renovation of two national trust listed Victorian mansion buildings, and site infrastructure including electricity substation, gas supply, roads and an on-site sewerage treatment station.

In 1983, upon return to Australia, Chris joined Robertson and Marks Architects in Sydney.   In 1989 Chris was made an Associate Director of the company.    During his time there Chris worked on various large projects as project architect, specialising in grandstand and other sporting projects.   Some of the projects for which Chris was project architect were the addition of private boxes to the Bradman Stand, Sydney Cricket Ground; the then new JR Fleming Grandstand at Rosehill Racecourse; Stage Four extension to the Clyde Kennedy Grandstand, Canterbury Racecourse and the then new Paddock Grandstand and refurbishment of Official Stand, Randwick Racecourse.    In December of 1992, Chris left to establish his own private practice.

From 1994 to 1996 Chris joined with Wilkinson McCloskey as a director, winning a commission to complete a major upgrade of the Track and Grandstands at Harold Park Paceway.   For this 20million dollar upgrade, Chris was the design and project director.   During this time he was also the director responsible for several smaller recreational projects, working with a developer on the refurbishment and extension of various registered clubs in and around Sydney.

Upon the completion of the Harold Park project, Chris returned to his own practice, DTB Architects, and since then has built up a substantial portfolio of work, including residential, institutional refurbishment and sporting facilities projects, including the recent major redevelopment of the grandstands, administration centre, race stalls, stables and other infrastructure for the NSW Harness Racing Club at Menangle Park Paceway.   In 2012 DTB Architects also prepared a range of master planning concepts for the Newcastle Jockey Club at their Broadmeadow Racecourse.

In the educational sector, from 1996 to the present, DTB Architects, with Chris as Director and design principal, have undertaken around 300 refurbishment projects for the University of Sydney, and several for other tertiary institutions including the Australian Catholic University, UTS and extensions to a student residential college at UNSW.   These commissions have been diverse in size and nature, and have included refurbishments to offices, laboratories, plant, services infrastructure, hazardous goods management, roofs and facades, condition surveys and reporting, preparation of generic contract conditions and specifications for period contracts, and miscellaneous other projects.  

In recent years, Chris has been involved in particular in the design of a significant number of laboratory refurbishment projects for the University of Sydney - a number of these requiring significant incorporation of highly technical equipment and building services, dangerous materials, containment facilities, animal holding facilities and dealings with para-professionals in the incorporation of specialist equipment, services and facilities into these projects.   Chris also recently completed a major new sample testing laboratory for Racing NSW.

A number of projects have also involved work to buildings of heritage significance, requiring design solutions sensitive to those particular circumstances.  

Individual tertiary sector project sizes have ranged from small to around $5 million in individual contract value in this sector, and in several cases multiple staged projects over a period of years have been undertaken.   It is not uncommon for Chris to be driving several such projects simultaneously.

Chris has also completed projects for other institutional sector clients including Local Councils, Taronga Zoological Park and Defence (Army and Navy).  These projects have included office relocations and refurbishments, services infrastructure, equipment testing facilities (Navy), refurbishment of barracks and mess halls (Army), new buildings and upgrades to existing buildings for Local Council Child Care Centres.   A new Community Centre building for Fairfield City Council was also completed late 2012.   Chris has also provided services to Local Authorities in the area of Tender and Contractor EOI assessments and recommendations.

Chris has carried out a number of condition surveys on buildings, including preparation of documents (drawings, specifications, reports, etc) and expert witness testimony in both Supreme Court (Equity), and Land & Environment Court dispute proceedings.

In the residential sector, Chris has completed a significant number of projects, including both individual alterations & additions projects and complete new homes.   Chris is currently developing designs for a large medium density residential development on the NSW south coast for a private developer.

As most of these projects are carried out in continuously occupied buildings or sites, the project delivery methods are often driven by complex programme issues revolving around teaching schedules (in the case of the Universities and Child Care Centres) and race meetings (in the case of the Horse Racing Clubs) - constraints within which DTB Architects is used to working in these and other sectors.    Over time, Chris has built up a reputation for not only producing quality design solutions, but also comprehensive construction documentation, attention to detail and an expertise in quality control on site.

Chris has built upon his earlier experiences in the UNSW natural lighting and solar energy programmes to offer a detailed understanding of the issues involved in residential energy rating and Basix Assessment processes.  During the early years of the NATHERS program roll-out, Chris was also a registered NATHERS Assessor and carried out rating assessments on hundreds of residential dwellings and apartments.   Chris is therefore able to provide value added advice to Clients seeking to improve the energy and water saving objectives of their projects. 

Chris has remained hands-on as the managing director and maintains close client relationships.   With over 35 years experience as an architect and with a significant number of completed projects, both large and small, Chris seeks to achieve design outcomes in the practice based on elegance and functionality overlaid on sound construction and technical knowledge, with Client satisfaction as the ultimate goal.