Standing her Ground

Standing her Ground add

Danielle Neale is a 25 year old architectural designer who made the decision to stay in her hometown Christchurch so she could contribute to the rebuild of the city. She has no plans to move on anytime soon and wonders why more young designers aren't flooding to the city.

Danielle was studying toward her Bachelor in Architectural Studies at Ara Institute of Canterbury when the earthquakes hit. While it was a difficult and devastating time for many, the circumstances meant Danielle was able to pick up part-time work in the industry.

"It was mainly alterations and earthquake repair detailing, but it meant I could work on my skills while I was studying."

During her final year of study, Danielle started work at Coll Architecture, and in 2014 joined ADNZ as an Intern Member.

"As soon as I finished studying I started working full-time. There was never any thought of leaving Christchurch because there was so much work to be done. It made sense to stay and work and get my experience level up."

The nice thing about working in a small company, Danielle says, is the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and gain exposure to many sides of the business.

"It's mainly residential, mid to high-end work. All jobs I work on, I get to go from concept through to building consent. For example, I've been involved on a block of eight attached units designed for the elderly and a castle inspired house, which will be shown on Grand Designs NZ. I've designed a couple of houses myself, worked on a couple of hill homes and on a builder’s show home. There have been quite a few things I've learnt that I wouldn't have unless I did it myself, so it’s been pretty cool to have those opportunities."

Danielle draws some of her design inspiration from the image sharing social media site Pinterest and finds the ADNZ chat forum helpful for tips and advice.

"And of course there are the 'old school' architecture books which I love. But I think social media does play a big part in what we do. It makes inspiration and information so much more readily available."

And what are her plans for the future?

"Eventually I'd like to start my own architecture practice. That's what I'd really like to do."

ADNZ membership comes with many benefits including access to its online chat where members share ideas and seek advice from more than 300 experienced qualified design professionals. ADNZ also offers business mentoring and coaching through innovative planning sessions and workshops for members like Danielle who aim to start up their own businesses.

Visit for the full range of member benefits and to hear from members with first-hand experience on why it’s worth joining ADNZ.