A career change towards sustainable architecture by alumnus Ewe Jin Low

Ewe Jin Low graduated in Architecture in 1983 and is now working with bamboo. Here is his story in his own words:

‘I was fortunate enough to work in a fast paced company in Arundel, Sussex after coming straight out of Brighton Polytechnic. We designed and built business parks in the hi-tech style of thoseBamboo Ewe Jin Low picturedays with steel, aluminium and glass. In 5 years I managed to rise from Graduate Architect to Director and in the process learnt heaps. I left Brighton and spent the next many years back in Malaysia and then Australia running practices and working in various fields of architecture.

It is uncommon for architects to undergo a major shift in their work field especially towards the later part of their careers. I am privileged to be one of them. After many years of devoting a large part of it to conventional architectural practice, I was fortunate enough to be given a new lease of architecture life setting on a green and bamboo journey with renewed vigour. The bamboo bug hit me when I moved to Bali 5 years ago. It was in Bali that I become immersed in bamboo working as Lead Architect at Ibuku, designing and constructing many signature bamboo projects locally in Indonesia and also abroad in Africa and the Maldives.

Today I work on my own projects using bamboo together with other matching materials. While I am happy to produce buildings of full bamboo I also enjoy looking for ways to fuse bamboo into buildings and combining it well with other recycled or repurposed materials where appropriate.  I continue to enjoy giving talks and holding workshops on bamboo design and construction around South East Asia.

As a young Malaysian student coming to England in the 70’s to study was a challenging process. But I was pleasantly welcomed by my English college mates and staff and ended up building friendships that last to this day. Thinking back now, the college years in Brighton were fundamental and Bamboo structureformative for my career and also life paths. The time away from home and  technical and design skills that I started to pick up in Brighton I still utilize most days even today in the bamboo world. I worked hard in college and also worked hard on the side sometimes holding as many as three part time jobs to get by and pay the annual tuition fees.

A message to students in Brighton – the university days are precious and fleeting. Before you know it, you will be out there trying to make a living. So make full use of your time in university to enjoy, embrace and empower yourself for life ahead.

When I think of Brighton, I think of the vibrancy, the seaside vibe and the bullishness it had in the 70’s and 80’s. I look forward to returning soon to check it out what it is like now.’


Ewe Jin Low
Brighton Polytechnic
BA Architectural Design (comm), Dip Arch 1978 – 1983

Instagram – @ewejinlow

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