Studio Profile

A decade ago, Melinda formed the design and research practice MDa. We undertake commercial, education and residential projects emphasising sustainable urban renewal and ‘no bigger than necessary’ buildings, refurbishments and masterplanning. Clients include universities, governments, and the private sector.


MDa has delivered over 80 lower carbon compact houses in Canberra. Research-informed design has contributed to MDa winning several housing competitions and our appointment to design demonstration compact housing precincts. Other project highlights include the ANU CBE Student Hub, ANU green roofs, Giralang School Hall restoration, University House masterplan, NEAT competition and Flexi-living affordable housing.


Melinda Dodson, Practice Director


BArch St, BArch (Hon), LFRAIA, Hon AIA, Hon MRAIC, Hon FNZIA

Past National President RAIA, PhD Candidate University Canberra    

Melinda Dodson has over 25 years experience practicing as an architect in Canberra and Adelaide. Melinda’s PhD research focuses on sustainable house size and occupant satisfaction, offering strategies to reduce housing carbon emissions (C02e) set against the ACT 2045 net-zero targets (Steffen 2019). She has managed and mentored teams large and small, and has designed competition/award-winning projects including several notable national headquarters buildings.

As past Australian Institute of Architects National President, Melinda ran on a platform of sustainability and gender equity, implementing several enduring policies in these arenas. She has sat on more than a dozen design juries and advisory panels including current advisory roles to Canberra Urban and Regional Futures (CURF) climate-wise built environment statutory planning research and to the National Capital Design Review Panel/ACT Government Demonstration Housing project. She has co-authored several peer reviewed papers and presented at conferences on the topic of medium density compact housing.


Through both practice and industry participation, she remains passionately engaged with the broader contemporary issues that inform quality, climate-wise built environments. A full list of her project experience can be found at the tabs below.


Quality Assurance

As a team we have extensive experience running projects in compliance with ISO 9001. As an Australian Institute of Architects A+ practice, MDa staff are required to undertake ongoing continuing professional development. MDa is on several Government “preferred supplier” Panels and maintains structured project file systems, project file records, project plans and runs IT backups. Melinda has taught “Introduction to Architectural Practice” at UC over several years and this covers practice and project management, Quality Assurance, record keeping and contract administration. We have current Professional Indemnity, Public Liability and Workcover insurances.