Vanessa Carswell

Principal - Christchurch Studio Lead - Registered Architect
Vanessa Carswell

Vanessa Carswell is a Jasmax Principal and leader of the Christchurch Studio. With two decades’ experience working predominantly in the South Island, Vanessa’s collaborative and inquiring approach to leadership ensures her projects reflect a modern Aotearoa, serve the local community, and are completed to an exceptionally high standard.

From heritage and adaptive reuse to urban masterplanning and mixed-use developments, Vanessa’s skills cover an array of sectors and project typologies. Her broad expertise comes from her international experience in the field.

While based in the UK for six years, Vanessa worked for acclaimed practices Grimshaw Architects and Allies and Morrison Architects, where she gained experience in complex heritage architecture, including the regeneration of Kings Cross. She also explored innovative, biophilic design solutions as part of the team on The Core, an education facility at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Prior to joining Jasmax, Vanessa was a Principal at Warren and Mahoney, where she led the restoration of the Isaac Theatre Royal, the first public building to be restored in the CBD after the Christchurch earthquakes. Her design leadership on the project saw her win the NAWIC Outstanding Achievement in Design Award in 2016, and in 2017 she was nominated by Idealog as one of New Zealand’s most creative people. Vanessa was also Project Principal and Design Lead overseeing several concurrent projects for Ngāi Tahu’s Pita Te Hori/​King Edward Barracks, a sustainable mixed-use inner-city development in Christchurch. The Te Urutī Building which is part of this campus, is one of three in New Zealand to be awarded a 6‑star Nabers rating and uses 76% less power than a comparable typical building.

Successful engagement and design processes to integrate natural connections and cultural values within the Otago Polytechnic Masterplan led to Vanessa co-presenting at the Tertiary Education Facilities Management Conference in Adelaide and the Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability Conference in 2019.

Vanessa’s passion for designs which authentically serve their community often results in projects where cultural and environmental outcomes exceed initial expectations. A respected member of the architecture community, Vanessa sits on New Zealand Property Council’s South Island Region Committee.

Selected Projects