Geoffrey Bawa by noidarocker



•Geoffrey Bawa (1919–2003) is the most renowned architect in Sri Lanka and was
    among the most influential architects in southeast Asia in the last decades of
    the 20th century.
•Principal force behind what is today known globally as ‘tropical modernism’
•Born in 1919 to wealthy parents of mixed European and Ceylonese descent.
•He was educated at the prestigious Royal College after which he studied English
    at Cambridge University gaining a BA (English Literature Tripods) and went on
    to study law at Middle Temple, London becoming a Barrister in 1944.
•Returning to Ceylon after the war he started working for a Colombo Law firm. But
    soon he left to travel for two years, almost settling in Italy.
•Architecture at the age of 38.
•Fundamental to his approach was empathy for place and a direct interaction on
    site. Both life and training shaped his ideas.
•A love of natural form, the discipline he learnt in England tempered by
    conviviality in elegant surroundings, his cosmopolitanism and a sense of
    culture and the past were essential components.
•Bawa’s attitude to life imbued his work with a sybaritic ethos, which is
    ubiquitous in his designs.
•The existing potential of the natural landscape was always accommodated within
    and around Bawa’s spaces.
•He blended them so beautifully that ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ became a continuum.
•Quintessentially, Geoffrey Bawa’s architecture produced canvasses for the art of
    living so unobtrusive that his forms became props which ‘respect, enhance and
    celebrate the environment’ and are above all, to be enjoyed.
Advancement and promotion of education and knowledge and the furtherance of
interest in:
•Ecological and environmental studies including inter alia Botany, Zoology, Bird
    Sanctuary, Natural History, Nature Study, Preservation of Wild Life, Fauna and
    Flora, Environmental Landscaping and associated fields of study;
•Fine Arts such as Painting, Music, Drama, Sculpture, Scientific Technical or
    Literary work.
•To grant assistance in the form of studentships, scholarships, Bursaries, Loans,
    Allowances, Payment for or in Reimbursement of the cost of travel (Both
    inland / and / or abroad) Books, Equipment, Fees and Other expenses incurred in
    the promotion and furtherance or the foregoing objects.
•To establish maintain and manage galleries for the fine arts, museums, libraries,
    reading rooms, cultural centres, research libraries and facilities.
•To subsidize art classes in school and educational institutions and to organize
    lectures, tours, picnics, public meetings, for promotion and furtherance of
    foregoing objects;
•To carry on and maintain any undertaking by itself or in association with any
    other organization, government or private and whether affiliated to any
    foreign or international organization and encourage interest in the forgoing
•For the purpose of doing all other acts and things as may be necessary to the
    attainment of the objects.
Geoffrey Bawa: A portfolio of projects
•Highly personal in his approach, evoking the pleasures of the senses that go hand
    in hand with the climate, landscape, and culture of ancient Ceylon.
•Geoffrey Bawa brought together an appreciation of the Western humanist tradition
    in architecture with needs and lifestyles of his own country.
•Bawa has exerted a defining influence on the emerging architecture of independent
    Sri Lanka and on successive generations of younger architects.
•His ideas have spread across the island, providing a bridge between the past and
    the future, a mirror in which ordinary people can obtain a clearer image of
    their own evolving culture.
•In 2001, Geoffrey Bawa recieved the prestigious ChairmansAward from the Aga Khan
    Award for Architecture for his lifetime achievement.
Mahaweli Development Ministry
Variant Names : Mahaweli Development Ministry
Street Address : Darley Road
Location : Colombo, Sri Lanka
Architect/Planner : Geoffrey bawa
Date : 1976-1978
Century : 20th
Decade : 1970s
Building Types : Commercial, Goverment
Building Usage : Bank, Goverment Office
•This uncharacteristic twelve-storey office building was
    commissioned by the government of the day to house the
    State Mortgage Bank.
•Completed after the UNP's election victory in 1977, it was
    redesignated the main secretariat of the Mahaweli
    Development Ministry.
•The lozenge-shape plan was developed with Anura
    Ratnavibushana and results in a profile that changes
    dramatically according to viewpoint, appearing slender
    towards the junction and much flatter towards the park and
    the lake.
•Floating concrete canopy that reveals the geometric logic of
    the concrete structure below. The objective was to provide
    a working environment that could be lit and ventilated by
    natural means in a building of moderate height that did
    not impose undue strains on the immediate urban
•The main elevations face north and south in order to reduce
    solar gain and catch the main breezes; windows are set
    back from deep spandrel panels designed as air-intake
•A tropical city. Sadly no attempt was made by the client to
    monitor its performance or modify its details and the
    demands of offshore property developers and international
    clients prevailed in Colombo, giving rise to a crop of
    sealed-glass, energy-guzzling towers in the main business
De Soysa House
Location : Colombo, Sri Lanka
Architect/Planner : Geoffrey Bawa
Client : Cecil and Chloe de Soysa
Date :1985-1991
Century : 20th
Decade : 1980s
Building Type : residential
Building Usage :Private residence
•Cecil had been chairman of the Ceylon Hotels Corporation when the Bentota Beach
    Resort was built at the end of the 1960s and had later become a private hotel
    developer, while his wife Chloe ran a boutique and gallery on Wijerama Mawatha in
•The de Soysas owned an old house with a large garden that stretched between Wijerama
    Mawatha and Boyd Place.
The house belongs to Bawa's canon of tower houses. A drawing dated 1985 carries a
scribbled note from Bawa to his client:
Dear Chloe,
- an office on the ground floor 65 feet long by 14 feet [later a verandah for the house] looking over the garden
and expandable into what is now the car port and, as a car port, not counted in the calculation of the 3,000-square-
foot maximum area. The first floor needs no explanation. The main bedroom on the second floor is surrounded and
shaded by planting in a 3-foot-wide trough. Windows on all three sides with white curtains. A 7-foot-high cupboard
separates sleeping from dressing. This would need careful detailing later. The roof is part pergola and part open
to the moon and stars - and a view over the neighbouring trees. Hope you like it! (Geoffrey, 6 July 1985)
•The main living room and bedroom are glazed on three sides using dark anodized
    aluminium sliding sashes.
•The house is surrounded by tall trees and dense vegetation and the narrow window
    frames seem to melt into the background of branches and creepers.
•This is a far cry from earlier, apparently more traditional, designs: the deceptively
    simple plans, the white walls and the contrasting frames represent a further move
    towards the minimalism to which Bawa was increasingly drawn.
Bentota Beach
Location : Bentota, Sri Lanka
Architect/Planner : Geoffrey Bawa
Client : Bentota Beach Hotel
Date : 1967-1969
Century : 20th
Decade : 1960s
Building Type : commercial
Building Usage :Hotel
Plan of De Soysa House
•He was therefore able to design a modern building that reflected something of the
    culture and traditions of its milieu without descending into parody or pastiche,
    a building that offered subtle hints of a lost world of ancient palaces,
    medieval manor houses and colonial villas while still addressing the needs of
    the modern traveler.
•The design treated the site and surroundings with respect and played on all five
    senses to capture the unique spirit of the place.
•As such it was one of the first hotels of its kind to be built anywhere in Asia.
•The site itself was an inspired choice: on one side of a spit of land the white-
    topped waves of the Indian Ocean broke over a distant reef and rolled in
    towards a long sandy beach fringed with palm trees, while on the other the
    Bentota River slid lazily along its mangrove-clad banks towards the sea.
•The original brief asked for extensive public spaces but stipulated only thirty
•Twenty rooms were contained in an additional wing to the north, with forty more
    rooms added later in a new southern wing.
•The apparent simplicity of the plan belies its spatial complexities and the
    subtleties of its section.
•The mound was encased in a rubble podium that mimicked old Dutch fortifications
    and contained a shopping arcade and links to the service areas.
•The main reception spaces were placed on top of the mound and took the form of an
    enfilade of rooms around a square courtyard.
•Two floors of bedrooms were placed in an L-shaped wing on adjacent sides of the
Club Villa Hotel
Location : Bentota, Sri Lanka
Architect/Planner : Geoffrey Bawa
Client : Bentota Beach Hotel
Date : 1979
Century : 20th
Decade : 1970s
Building Type : commercial, residential
Building Usage :hotel, private residence
•Construction inspired by the form of a house dated to 1880 that had fallen into
    disrepair, was focused around this beachside two-story block and its bedrooms.
•Once purchased in 1979 the loggia, courtyard, bedrooms and kitchens were appended
    to the remnants of the original house.
•A swimming pool was built in the courtyard.
33rd lane
Abu Nawas
McLean Residence
Blue Water Hotel
Awards and Fellowships
•Pan Pacific Citation, Hawaii Chapter of the American Institute of Architects
•President, Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (1969)
•Inaugural Gold Medal at the Silver Jubilee Celebration of the Sri Lanka Institute
    of Architects (1982)
•Heritage Award of Recognition, for “Outstanding Architectural Design in the
    Tradition of Local Vernacular Architecture”, for the new Parliamentary Complex
    at Sri Jayawardenepura, Kotte from the Pacific Area Travel Association. (1983)
•Elected Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (1983)
•Conferred title of Vidya Jothi (Light of Science) in the Inaugural Honours List
    of the President of Sri Lanka (1985)
•Teaching Fellowship at the Aga Khan Programme for Architecture, at MIT, Boston ,
    USA (1986)
•Conferred title Deshamanya (Pride of the Nation) in the Honours List of the
    President Sri Lanka (1993)
•The Grate Master's Award 1996 incorporating South Asian Architecture Award (1996)
•The Architect of the Year Award, India (1996)
•Asian Innovations Award, Bronze Award – Architecture , Far Eastern Economic Review
•The Chairman's Award of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in recognition of a
    lifetime's achievement in and contribution to the field of architecture (2001)
•Awarded Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa), University of Ruhuna ( 14 th September
    2002 )
Died  on  27  May  2003  at  the  age  of  84. 
  Bawa  was  an architect  of  great  reputed
    whose  work  had  a  tremendous impact 
 throughout  Asia.  He  was  accepted  as  an 
          eminent  scholar  worldwide.

             THE END

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