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Eric Law building a solid career in the built environment

Photograph of built environment student Eric Law
Built Environment student Eric Law

International student Eric Law is building a solid career in architecture – from the inside out. After completing an interior design course in his home country of Malaysia, Eric came to Australia to pursue his dream of a career in the applied architecture.

‘I was very interested in colours and lighting and once I finished that interior design course in Malaysia, I needed to study more and pursue my further education,’ Eric says. After focusing on interiors for a period of time Eric felt it was time to look at the built environment holistically ‘I need to study something from the exterior, so that's why I decided to study the built environment and architecture - I can use both for my future career.’

A family of builders 

Born into a family of builders heavily influenced his decision - he felt like he needed to join in too. ‘My dad was a building contractor, my sister is a quantity surveyor, my brother is a building contractor. We are a building family, that’s why I thought it would be my future.’

Winning designs 

As part of his Melbourne Polytechnic course at the Epping campus Eric has completed a number of design projects – one of which won him a prize, the 2020 i2C Student Design Award. In his last semester project, he conceptualised a Design Hub for students at the Preston campus. It would bring together students from different (but related) design courses and provide them with classrooms, workshops and a space for 3D printers, modelling and sculpting zones.

Bachelor of Applied Architecture Head of Program Peter Hogg says entries for the award were shortlisted by Melbourne Polytechnic staff, and judged by sponsors, Collingwood-based architects i2C. ‘Eric was very deserving of the award, he did quite a professional job,’ Peter says. ‘We were saying to the students to design the school of your dreams. Where would you want to study architecture? He did a terrific job, I was very happy that i2C awarded him.

Indigenous influences 

Peter says ‘Eric is going to be a credit to our course. He’s smart and hardworking; a good combo.’ In other design projects for his course Eric worked on an agriculture school campus in Wollert and a new railway station for Epping. ‘I did a very organic structure for that one, especially my roof structure,’ Eric says. ‘My concept was based on the bird called a puffin. The bird has a very interesting beak and I was influenced by that and took the beak as the roof for my train station. I also referenced Aboriginal culture with a ‘mia mia’ - a shelter made up of tree branches.’

Beauty = form and function 

Eric is looking forward to his future career as a challenging but rewarding one. ‘I'm interested in beauty,’ he says. ‘a building design tells a lot of different stories and has a lot of history. I like to work in built design industry because it is very challenging, you need to think critically, you have to create your own design, you need to have great team work which is what I really like. It's not really a career when you’re just working on a computer or in an office; architecture and design are very interesting, very challenging and there’s a lot of creativity involved.’

The grandest design 

Eric has done some freelance work in rendering, producing 3D visualisations, and he’s eyeing a spot in his backyard for a possible home studio. Of course, there will be a grand design home - eventually.

‘Every architect wants to build a dream home or do other things and mark their name on that building. That's what I want to do in the future.’