Interview with David Pennisi


David Pennisi

Case Study

Name: David Pennisi
Position: Architect and Student
Company: Jackson Teece Architects

  • Bachelor of Architecture.

  • Currently studying a Graduate Certificate in Timber at UTAS

Age: 36

Why did you choose to study The Graduate Certificate course in Timber at UTAS?

As an Architect in practise it is essential to support our advice with facts that allow project stakeholders to make the best possible decisions during the building process. I felt that knowing more about timber would enable me to incorporate it into designs and provide relevant advice to clients.
The Graduate Certificate course in Timber at UTAS is giving me a comprehensive extension to the knowledge I already had and I really think it will help me to confidently use timber in appropriate applications in my designs.
I also think that, paradoxically, timber is a material of the future – and this knowledge will put me at the front of the pack!
Stepping back in time – how did you get in to architecture?
I actually spent my first year at Uni doing science, majoring in geology. I’d always been interested in the creative side of things though and kept up subjects like design at school, so when I saw the opportunity to change courses to architecture, I grabbed it. This was at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), it was good because after three years I could get a paying job in a practice and study too.
What’s the appeal of wood for you?
Well, coming from Queensland, there’s a traditional, you could say cultural connection with timber. Forests provided so many resources for early settlers and the majority of domestic buildings were timber – the classic Queenslander on poles for example.
Wood looks good and it’s a great material to work with – builders and tradespeople understand it and can easily use it too.  Today, people are also becoming more aware of the quantifiable environmental advantages to using more timber in domestic and commercial structures.
So what do you think the future of timber in construction?
I’d like to see more of it. I think that as a material timber has to be demystified – for example many architects use steel because they are familiar with it, they don’t really understand timber in similar applications. I think as things like life cycle analysis (LCA) become more widespread and the building code (BCA) imposes more environmental performance criteria, we’ll see an increased used of timber in our built environment. 

How do you feel that what you do makes a difference?
I’d like to think that by helping the resurgence of timber and the use of engineered timber products I can contribute to a more sustainable built environment – using a traditional, renewable material in new and innovative ways.
Please note: We spoke to David about his study and career. We hope you find this useful and interesting – but please remember, that all jobs and courses are not exactly the same and those with similar titles may be different in many respects. You should confirm all details before making any decisions.