For Alana White, architecture is about creating something that will be used by people for years to come.
Alana has always been interested in architectural design. Even as a kid at kindergarten, she would often draw plans and layouts for her dream home. Architecture also runs in Alana’s family, with her mum being an architectural designer.
However, Alana wasn’t sold on the idea of a career in architecture after a visit to a firm didn’t really excite her. She took a gap year after high school, working at McDonalds while she figured out what she wanted to do next.
Eventually Alana decided it was time to give Architecture a go and she enrolled
UCOL’s New Zealand Diploma in Architectural Technology.
“I really enjoyed the course. I really enjoy the practical aspect and getting to know how a building works instead of being something to look at. I was a bit hesitant about doing the course at first, but it was the best decision I’ve made because now I’m in a career that I really like,” says Alana.
UCOL appealed to Alana because of the hands-on learning style, the lack of exams in the Architecture program, and the class sizes meant she could get to know her lecturers and classmates well.
Stand-out moments for Alana included learning how to use different computer-aided design (CAD) software and visits from suppliers in the construction industry.
“Learning the CAD programmes was a highlight, as well as learning about building in a New Zealand environment. It was good to get that local knowledge from people within the industry, who told us about their products and how they work in New Zealand.”
Outside of the classroom, Alana enjoyed UCOL’s Stress-Less Weeks which included activities to help students relax at the busy end of the semester. Stress-Less Weeks were highlighted by visits from Canine Friends Pet Therapy dogs.
“Stress-Less Week was the greatest thing ever, when they bought in the dogs, put out coloring books, and had a barbecue for the students,” says Alana.
Alana is now working as a Junior Architectural Technician at Fiona McPherson Architecture in Christchurch, assisting architectural designers working on residential properties. She enjoys the variety that comes with working in residential architecture and how personal the projects are for clients.
“The best part of my job is knowing that you’re working on something that will not be gone in a couple of years; you’re working on someone’s house that will be there for a long time and they’ll use it every single day. It’ll be the biggest asset in their life, and it’s nice to know that when I’m gone it will still be there, being use by a lot of different people. There’s a sense of permanence.”
In the future, Alana is looking to become a member of Architectural Designers New Zealand (ADNZ), a leading professional body for the country’s architectural industry. Later down the track she wants to run her own business.