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30UNDER30’s Amanda Beck on respecting history to create resilient architecture

30UNDER30’s Amanda Beck on respecting history to create resilient architecture


Australian Design Review (ADR) recently revealed the 30UNDER30 Architects and Innovators of the Built World for 2023/2024. To celebrate, we are getting to know this exciting multidisciplinary cohort, the passions that drive their work and what makes them tick creatively.

Amanda Beck’s architectural journey is marked by a commitment to continuous learning and real-world experiences. A pivotal step to study in the Netherlands at the end of her Masters led Beck to a five-year role at Gortemaker Algra Feenstra (GAF) where she became a registered architect.

Her experiences in Europe extended to primary school projects, fostering innovative learning spaces, as well as working on innovative health projects, which Gortemaker Algra Feenstra is renowned for. Beck’s continued focus on hospital projects is informed by her global and personal experiences with aged care and hospital environments.

Collectively, these experiences revealed to Beck the crucial role of social infrastructure in society, shaping her dedication to designing modern healing environments. Beck returned to Australia in 2023 and is now a senior project coordinator at Billard Leece Partnership (BLP). “Architecture isn’t just about structures, it’s about forging meaningful connections and making a lasting impact,” Beck says.

ADR: How did your love for architecture originate?

I was an artistic child and enjoyed drawing and painting, and I would always be building things with whatever I could find like coasters and straws at restaurants. From about the age of eight, I knew I wanted to become an architect. This idea grew stronger as I moved several times between apartments and houses­ where I found myself comparing one place to the next and thinking of ways they could have been better designed.

ADR: Do you have a preference for a particular style of architecture?

I love adaptive reuse architecture. I think the contrast between old and new shows a great respect for history and breathes new life into buildings. Adaptive reuse projects are great examples of seeing restrictions as challenges and the result is unique and resilient architecture.

ADR: What does sustainability mean for you?

At its core, sustainability to me entails the practice of production without depleting the environment. Throughout my professional journey, the concept of sustainability has evolved beyond merely incorporating green roofs and solar panels. Recognising our impact as architects, we can contribute meaningfully by rejecting harmful materials, reusing resources and choosing sustainable suppliers. We also have to be advocates for sustainability throughout the lifecycle of our projects.

Marijke Hiem, GAF Arcitects. Photographed by Ronald Tilleman.
ADR: Is there a particular project you’ve worked on that has been the highlight of your career so far?

AB: Marijke Hiem is an aged care facility in Heerenveen in the Netherlands, it was my first project at GAF in Rotterdam, and my first built project. It will always be a special project for me because of how much I learnt and the experiences I had being exposed to a new language, country, and way of working.

ADR: How did it feel to make it into Australian Design Review’s 30UNDER30?

I’m incredibly proud of the work I’ve done, but sometimes you forget to take a step back and realise how far you’ve come in your career. It was an amazing moment to make the top 30 and I couldn’t be prouder. I also feel lucky to have had such amazing opportunities in my career thanks to BLP and GAF.

ADR’s 30UNDER30 Architects and Innovators of the Built World stream is brought to you by major sponsor Neolith, alongside Miele, Interface and Tongue & Groove. The program is also supported by practice partners BVN, HDR INC, SJB, Richard Stanisich, Williams Burton Leopardi, and Billard Leece Partnership. To find out more about the final 30, including their places of work and discipline areas, head to the 30UNDER30 page

Photography courtesy of Amanda Beck unless otherwise credited.


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