He produced “
” long before the term was coined,and had developed his own “
” stance well in advance of the theoreticians.
Early work in Tropical Modernism
Strathspey Estate Bungalow, Upcott,1959
Bishop’s College Classrooms, Colombo, 1959Bawa's early work included office buildings, factories and schools and wasinfluenced by the
of Fry and Drew and ultimately bythe work of le Corbusier. Typical of projects from this period are theremote Strathspey Tea EstateBungalow at the foot of Adam’s Peak,and the classroom extension forBishop’s College in Colombo.In the classroom block for BishopsCollege the interiors were protected byperforated external wall panels whichwere supported on a concrete portalframe and inserted between theexposed beam-ends to give animpression of extreme lightness anddelicacy. A heavy horizontal eaves beam was hung out to protect the facadeand to mask the pitched roof, thus accentuating the horizontality andmodernist credentials of the design.
Houses for a Tropical City
Carmen Gunesekera House, Colombo, 1958
Upali Wijewardene House, Colombo, 1959
For more than a century Sri Lankan domestic architecture had been heavilyinfluence by British taste.The typical British 'bungalow' was a pavilion on oneor two floors, cellular in plan, extrovert in concept and located at the centreof a large garden plot. However the population of Sri Lanka was explodingand Colombo was rapidly evolving from leafy Garden City into modern Asianmetropolis. As land prices rose so plot sizes shrank and the British bungalowcould no longer guarantee privacy or provide adequate ventilation.In his first houses built at the end of the 1950s, such as that for CarmenGunesekera (1958) Bawa deconstructed the colonial bungalow andrearranged its constituent parts in such a way as to create semi-enclosedspaces. A second series of 'frame houses', designed with Plesner and inspiredperhaps by Scandinavian models, used a concrete frame to support coveredterraces, garden courts and planted roof gardens and was typified by thehouses built for Upali Wijewardene (1959) and Aelian Kanangara (1959).Vishnu S3