Harmonious Landscapes - Geoffrey Bawa’s Legacy
Geoffrey Bawa is one of Sri Lanka's most prolific and influential architects. The intense devotion he brings to composing his architecture in an intimate relationship with nature is witnessed by his attention to landscape and vegetation. His sensitivity to the environment is reflected in the careful attention to the sequencing of space, the creation of vistas, courtyards, walkways, the use of materials and treatment of details.
Bawa's growing prestige was recognized in 1979, when he was invited by President Jayawardene to design Sri Lanka's new Parliament at Kotte, 8 kilometres east of Colombo. At Bawa's suggestion the swampy site was dredged to create an island at the centre of a vast artificial lake, with the Parliament building appearing as an asymmetric composition of copper roofs floating above a series of terraces rising out of the water. Abstract references to traditional Sri Lankan and South Indian architecture were incorporated within a Modernist framework.
Some of Bawa’s works:
Lunuganga Estate - The Cinnamon Hill House and Gardens at Lunuganga have resulted from almost fifty years of gradual change. It is considered to be one of the two definitive works that best gives an insight into Bawa’s architecture.
Kandalama Hotel – This is conceived as an austere jungle palace, snaking around a rocky outcrop on the edge of an ancient tank in the dry zone. Offering a stunning view across an ancient lake and the vast dry zone plain to the astonishing beauty of the 5th Century rock fortress of Sigiriya, is the panorama that unravels before the Kandalama Hotel.
University of Ruhuna, Matara - The Ruhunu University sits serenely on three hills outside the southern ancient town of Matara. The elegant buildings gaze out into the vastness of the Indian Ocean.
New Parliament, Kotte - The new Sri Lankan Parliament is an asymmetric group of colonnaded pavilions with striking copper roofs ‘floating’ on a man-made lake.
The Bentota Beach Hotel – This is considered to be Sri Lanka's first purpose-built resort hotel, combining the conveniences required by demanding tourists with a sense of place and continuity.