Geoffrey Bawa’s Sri Lanka: an architectural tour

Sri Lanka’s most well-known architect, the late, nice and proficient Geoffrey Bawa (1919-2003), was on the coronary heart of Sri Lanka’s typically neglected trendy design and architectural historical past. He helped give Sri Lanka the person and complex sense of favor that it exudes as we speak, and created sustainable structure lengthy earlier than it turned a trendy development.

For the reason that 1990s Bawa’s legacy has been managed and guarded by the small and heroic group, the Geoffrey Bawa Belief, who preserve each the Lunuganga Property and Quantity 11 as dwelling museums to Bawa. All through the tear-drop island, one can hint his path of architectural wonders; locations he lived in, designed and drew inspiration from. Right here is our round-up of his most inspirational architectural creations…

Heritance Kandalama, Kandalama 

Within the beating coronary heart of Sri Lanka’s wealthy cultural centre, dwelling to such heritage websites because the ruined citadel of Sigiriya, the nice temple cave complicated of Dambulla and the traditional misplaced metropolis of Anuradhapura, lies maybe Bawa’s most dramatic and iconic architectural creation. Constructed right into a cliff face and overlooking the traditional man-made Kandalama reservoir, this resort encompasses all that’s sustainable in a resort.

With a number of layers stretching a couple of kilometre in size, through the years the resort has been enveloped by the jungle, peering out from beneath a cover of lush vegetation, as if it has all the time been a part of the panorama. The rooftop gardens and bed room balconies present mile upon mile of gorgeous views throughout the encompassing panorama, together with Sigiriya Rock within the distance.

The Gallery Café, Colombo 

Sri Lanka’s capital metropolis of Colombo, typically described because the ‘Backyard Metropolis of the East’, is well-known for its charming lakes, canals and tree-lined boulevards, busy open-air markets, temples and colonial buildings. Up to date Colombo has vibrant upmarket procuring, glorious eating places and a thriving artwork scene, which brings us to The Gallery Café, Colombo’s most cherished restaurant and as soon as Bawa’s architectural studio.

His beloved former places of work had been transformed right into a gallery and restaurant by Paradise Highway designer, and native model arbiter, Shanth Fernando, however Bawa’s signature architectural model has been saved a lot because it was throughout its heyday; patios, open courtyards, reflecting pool and alcoves. The artwork gallery reveals the works of native artists, and there may be additionally a department of Paradise Highway, the favored way of life and design retailer. 


Quantity 11, Colombo

Quantity 11, a compact, three-storey villa, was Bawa’s non-public Colombo dwelling. He purchased the property in 1958 and lived between right here and his beloved backyard retreat at Lunuganga, for forty years. The residence is taken into account an architectural marvel, and as we speak, a lot of the home stays unchanged in his reminiscence. Dotted all through the property are Bawa’s signature architectural options of courtyards and verandas, and his personally designed furnishings and lightweight fittings are all nonetheless in place. The home, open for personal excursions and managed by the Geoffrey Bawa Belief, is ideal for these fanatics of structure and artwork.

Number 11 - Colombo

Lunuganga, Bentota

Lunuganga Property, near the seashore resort of Bentota, was Bawa’s nation dwelling and is certainly one of Sri Lanka’s best masterpieces. A real expression of his distinctive model, the gardens had been his experimental laboratory; a spot the place he may continuously change and develop his concepts, experiment with its areas and constructions and switch them right into a cultivated imaginative and prescient.

The 50-year challenge was a real labour of affection, and a documentation of Bawa’s skill to tame the wild tropics and switch them right into a cultured pristine backyard. He lived right here till his ultimate sickness in 1998, all of the whereas trialling his concepts. Immediately, the home and gardens at the moment are taken care of the by the Belief; the gardens open to the general public and the buildings on the property run as a rustic home resort.

Membership Villa, Bentota

Bawa additionally focussed his architectural attentions to the fast-growing luxurious journey scene; from 1965 to 1997 he designed 35 accommodations, 13 of which had been inbuilt Sri Lanka, together with the long-lasting Membership Villa. Presumably certainly one of Sri Lanka’s most subtle and charming boutique accommodations, Membership Villa sits on a former coconut plantation, only a stone’s throw from a stunning seashore, and a narrow-gauge railway lazily runs by the underside of the backyard. The resort radiates Bawa’s attribute easy but elegant model, and dotted with lily ponds and open courtyards, the resort creates a great dwelling away from dwelling dwelling.

The Final Home, Tangalle 

The Final Home, because the title signifies, was Bawa’s ultimate architectural creation, and arguably his final fee. The posh seaside escape, positioned on a personal crescent of seashore and nestled inside two acres of gardens, is a real illustration of his work; ethereal interiors, adorned with vintage furnishings, circulation effortlessly into open-air areas, blurring the boundaries of outside and indoor. Friends of this of this boutique resort can lie by the pool, listening to the sounds of the ocean, while the in-house employees are inclined to your each want guaranteeing one immediately feels at dwelling.  It takes simply seconds to be seduced by the stylish and charming seaside villa.

James Jayasundera is Founder and Managing Director of Ampersand Journey. Ampersand Journey create bespoke and opulent journey experiences to Asia, the British Isles and Southern Africa.

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