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Blog: Employee Spotlight: Michael Defina, Intern Architect

April 5, 2021
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Today, we learn about Michael Defina (Intern Architect, AAA, BArchSci, MArch), who works out of our Calgary studio.

What is your role with S2; how long have you been with the firm and what is your favourite part of your job?
I am an Intern Architect and I've been with S2 for a little over 2 years. My favourite part of the job is being to explore design solutions to complex problems.

What do you like most about design and architecture?
What I like most about Architecture is how integral it is in our everyday lives, even if we may not realize it. We see it and feel it every day as we commute, walk in our neighbourhoods and live in our homes. Good design can really make a difference to our mood, thoughts and emotions through the form of its spaces, natural lighting and the materials used. I think with the pandemic, people are beginning to realize how important that is when you live and work from home.

How did you get into the field?
I have been interested in design since I was young. My father has been designing homes for over 30 years and once I got the opportunity to explore design and architecture in high school, I knew I wanted to explore it more in university. I did an undergraduate at Ryerson in Toronto and then worked for several years before moving to Calgary and completing my Masters at the University of Calgary. I enjoyed living in Calgary, so I decided to stick around for a bit and eventually joined S2. The rest is history.

What work are you most proud of thus far in your career?

The work I am most proud of up to this point is an affordable rental housing project in Kelowna, BC. I have been working on it for a little over a year now under the tutelage of Architect Simon Ho who has given me the opportunity to flex my design skills, while also allowing me to make mistakes and learn the ropes. The project is a 20-storey tower that will be a part of the future Kelowna skyline and is currently in the design development stage. I’m looking forward to continuing on this project as it progresses.

What or who inspires your work?
Currently I’m really intrigued by the crossover between neuroscience and the field of architecture. This is a burgeoning field and the information we have is just scratching the surface of what we can understand about the built environment and its effects on our physical and mental health. I try to implement as much of this knowledge as I can during the design phase of projects.

What is your favourite restaurant in Calgary?
Bridgette Bar.

What do you do in your spare time?
My spare time is filled with being active either via sport, yoga or the gym, reading about emerging technologies and neuroscience, listening to a podcast and playing around with parametric design tools.,

What do you like best about working at S2?
The best part about S2 is the people. Everyone is open, friendly and approachable. There isn’t anyone who you can’t speak with and everyone is willing to answer questions, help with a design problem or just strike up a casual conversation.