Milton Architect’s currently have Sockkee Ooi on secondment from Tezuka Architect’s in Japan working with us on the design documentation phase of the collaborative design project for Emerald Place Early Learning Centre in Melbourne.
Sockkee grew up in Malaysia, studied Architecture at the University of Melbourne and now lives and works in Japan for Tezuka Architects. Sockkee shares below the enriching cultural and professional experience on secondment in Australia.
I started working on the Emerald Place Early Learning Centre project in August 2018 and visited Avenues Early Learning Centres in Brisbane and Melbourne as well as meeting the client and visiting the site. We then collaborated with Milton Architects on the conceptual design.
My employer, Tezuka-San, was very happy to work on a project in Australia and really got a lot of inspiration throughout the project.
It has been a great opportunity to be seconded to Milton Architects in Brisbane, it is a very special experience. Working with the team at Milton on the detailed design documentation has been a very productive time. It is a small office, and everyone is very talented. We have lots of discussions every day and things are able to progress quite quickly as everyone has such an intimate knowledge of the project and experience in the regulatory environment.
Steve and Cyrus are so knowledgeable of the regulations and so accurate, it gives you confidence when operating in another regulatory environment. We have an intense schedule for the project, but we also do make time to relax. Being able to communicate face-to-face allows us to understand what each other is thinking, back and forth much quicker.
As an English and Malaysian-Chinese speaker most of my projects are outside of Japan for Chinese clients. Even though we are all so much more connected now I have noticed new architecture is very different around the world. For example, in Japan their design is very influenced by their own culture and work and lifestyle values, the very strong focus on work-life and pursuit of perfection in work is reflected in design. People are also very particular in their living quality with regards technology and clothing, anything they do has to be the best. Japan is very pleasant and also an intense place to live.
In Japan, I live in a 19 square metre apartment including the kitchen and bathroom so returning to Australia as a qualified Architect working on a project has been a very different experience. I’ve been really enjoying the expansive environment and the quietness.
Living and experiencing a variety of countries and cultures and working with a smaller scale of team in a different approach to design and documentation has definitely enhanced my practice of Architecture.