“When you look at the better examples of what remains to us of these earlier buildings, you will find that

they all look at life in Ceylon squarely in the face. They look at the rain, at the termites, at the social needs, at the view to be had from verandahs and windows, at the needs of life at the time…” Geoffrey Bawa, The Times of Ceylon Annual, 1968
BORN: In Colombo in 1919 EDUCATION: 1941- B.A. Degree, Cambridge Univ. 1943- Barrister at Law, Middle Temple, London 1956- Diploma in architecture from AA School, London AWARDS: Aga Khan Award •1996 the Great Master’s Award for South Asian Architecture promoted by the Indian Architect of the Year Award DIED: 2003

Bawa and Landscape
Bawa came to his architectural career late in life driven by his passion for landscape design. The purchase of the rubber plantation at Lununga in 1948 marked the beginning of his interest in architecture and landscape and the transformation of this property through large-scale terraforming to micro-scale pruning continued until his death in 2003. Bawa was particularly concerned with the relationship between buildings and landscape. Indeed, Bawa believed that the two were inseparable. For Bawa, it is not only the careful situation of architecture within a landscape but also the embodiment of that landscape within the building; a unity between architecture and place

 The A.S.H. de Silva

• Bawa exploited the sloping site
to create additional spatial effects and used the roof plane to unify the elements and anchor them to the site. He also replaced the solid hearth core with a void: here for the first time an open-to-the-sky courtyard occupies the very heart of the plan.

The Early Years – Contemporary Vernacular:
 The Polontalawa Estate bungalow: This is a house which grows out of the

landscape and employs materials from the site and its immediate surroundings. It belongs to a long Sri Lankan tradition of cave temples which were insinuated between boulders or tucked under cliffs and exploits the rocky terrain of the site, emphasising the roof as a totally autonomous element.

Regional Modernism
The Sri Lankan Parliament, Kotte,1979:
 Bawa conceived of the Parliament as an island capitol surrounded by a new garden city of parks and public buildings.  The main pavilion is symmetrical about an axis running north-south through the debating chamber, the Speaker's chair and the formal entrance portal. But the power of this axis and the scale of the main roof are diffused by the asymmetric arrangement of the lesser pavilions around it. The pavilions each retain a separate

identity but join together to create a single upward sweep of roofs. The use of copper in place of tile gives the roofs a thinness and the tent-like quality of a stretched skin.

Contextual Modernism
 The Kandalama Hotel, designed by Geoffrey Bawa, was constructed between 1992 and 1995 on the outskirts of Dambulla, Sri Lanka. The famed ruins at Sigiriya relate harmoniously to their surroundings as architecture, earthworks, and frescoes strikingly frame and engage with the picturesque topography.  Its effect on the visitor parallels that of Sigiriya, as a nuanced "third space" between landscape and architecture is developed through the thoughtful integration and juxtaposition of building and environment.

 From the earliest development phase of the project,

Bawa was interested in developing a spatial and visual sequence of entry that culminated in the revelation of the distant view of the monument of Sigiriya only after entry to the hotel lobby.  One of the most beautiful features of the hotel's design is the large, cave-feature abutting the western side of the cliff around which the hotel wraps. The visitor winds through the confined tunnel-like passage, complete with a wall lined by boulders.

 Though the west wing

is visible from the entrance road, it was heavily camouflaged by planting in order to minimize its visual impact on the arriving guest so it ultimately does not detract significantly from Bawa's designed approach.  The final hotel design thus consists of three primary sections within a complex multi-story building that clings to the steep rock outcrop forming its eastern edge.

 The subtlety of the architecture itself effectively foregrounds the drama

of the cliff-side topography and breathtaking views. Some of the architectural differences between the Kandalama Hotel and other Bawa projects are also logical when one considers Bawa's unwavering commitment to building climatically appropriate architecture.  The Kandalama Hotel is located in the central dry zone of Sri Lanka, unlike many of Bawa's other buildings on humid oceanfront sites, and thus its design must adapt to a different climate. While pitched roofs are a necessity in coastal areas that receive heavy rain, the flat roofs at Kandalama function well in a dry climate and are less material-intensive

 The hotel was intended to serve as a building from which to view the pristine landscape of the Kandalama basin, and thus the lightness of the architectural articulation is an appropriate and successful design strategy.  The hotel also features innovative building technologies and systems designed to mitigate the environmental impact of the building's operation on the catchment of the nearby lake.  The Kandalama Hotel is an excellent example of how tourist facilities can be integrated into an undeveloped landscape successfully, fostering appreciation for the natural beauty of the setting while minimizing negative environmental consequences.