Eric K C Lye
Described as a ‘most rare jewel of academia and an innovative educator’, Malaysian-born Eric Kum Chew Lye’s reputation was initially established in the United States, Britain, the Netherlands, Canada and Singapore with innumerable scholarships, awards, honors and prizes. For almost a quarter of a century, since 1976, Lye served the University of Hong Kong, both as Chair Professor and periodically as Dean of Architecture, and from 2001 to 2003 contributed significantly to the shaping of architecture programmes at HKU SPACE. Lye was also engaged in design consultancy to several practices whose work included the award-winning Hong Kong University of Science and Technology development. In 1988, he was named the first “Architect of the Year” by the Hong Kong Artists Guild.
The citation that accompanied the award of his O.B.E in 1996 summarizes his professional achievements: it was given ‘in recognition of his international standing in the field of architecture, his distinguished work for the faculty in Hong Kong University and his valuable public service’.
Lye was in many ways a Renaissance man. Not only did he excel in his profession, his interests went beyond architecture. He loved the arts, literature and music, and above all, good design in all its manifestations, whether in furniture, clothing, cutlery or pots and pans, truly believing that ‘a thing of beauty is a joy forever’. Lye passed away in 2003 at the age of 69 with a great life to celebrate.