Joe Bean has a wonderful way of looking at things. He seeks to change things for the better through his work and experiences and has some great advice for our upcoming graduates to look at ‘how’ they want to work not just what they want to do.
After graduating from Carramar in 2011, Joe dove straight into a Bachelor of Design and Masters of Architecture at UWA.
“Throughout my studies I became increasingly interested and concerned with the ecological and social responsibilities and circumstances that architects and the buildings we throw up need to deal with,” he said.
Joe finished his Masters by travelling to the Phillipines, interning with Habitat for Humanity: Asia Pacific where he wrote a dissertation on climate induced displacement – in other words, “rebuilding communities after ridiculously ugly storms”.
He said the dissertation was a “hot mess” but the learning experience was great.
On his return to Perth he practiced residential architecture in what he calls the “real world” under David Weir at David Weir Architects where he learned about running small businesses creatively.
Drawn to social outcomes, which Joe said may have stemmed from St Stephen’s motto of Serve God, Serve One Another, he then found himself lucky enough to live in remote north-western Zambia for a few months working with Orkidstudio (now known as Build X and Build her) project managing the construction of housing for Doctors and Nurses.
“Here I learnt a lot about the potential of a construction process to promote change, equality and wellbeing in a community, as well as the opportunities, constraints and nuances in getting humanitarian projects off the ground,” Joe said.
“Getting out into the thick of it, both overseas and in Australia has been a joy.”
Now Joe runs a small business with his friend and mentor Greg Grabash called Brave and Curious (www.braveandcurious.com.au).
“We work across urban design, landscape architecture, working collaborative with communities around the country (often Indigenous communities but not always), using a design process on a very wide range of projects.”
He said the pair listen and learn a lot, acting as go betweens to support communities to move towards their desired outcome. Some of the projects they have worked on include walking trails, cultural management plans, public art, nurseries and shearing schools.
“It is great work and I feel lucky to be involved.”
When Joe isn’t working towards the greater good with Brave and Curious, you’ll find him down south on the farm with his partner Ash, surfing, “going bush” as much as possible and learning about regenerative agriculture.
His main advice for the next generation is to do what you love.
“If the work you do reflects your personality and your value set, you don’t have to fake it and it isn’t really work,” he said.
“You are also going to care a whole lot more and do better things.
“If you aren’t ready to enter into study, an apprenticeship or full-time work when you finish school, don’t; do what you love, emphasis learning and not a false sense of productivity.”
He also advised graduates to think about ‘how’ they want to work.
“Architecture was attractive to me because it was creative and dealt with the real world but I only realised quite late that the reality of architectural practice entails a lot of sitting and drawing on a computer at a desk.”
“I then had to explore how to use my skillset in a way that let me get outdoors and into the community, as that is the ‘how’ of how I want to work and live.”