- Name: Rajitha Katugaha
- Year: 2019
- Studio: Level V
- University: University of Moratuwa
Revamping Commercial Zone in the Historical City of Kandy
- Project: Shopping Mall/ Commercial premises
- Site/ Location: Dalada Veediya, (At present Kandy City Center site)
- Land Extent: 7,345 m2 (1.8 acres)
- Client: Kandy City Center (pvt) ltd
- Objectives: Develop Commercial, Cublic and Cultural infrastructure
- Investor: Kandy City Center (pvt) ltd
- Primary user: General public (pedestrians & resident citizens) in Kandy and the floating/transitional community
- Secondary users: Shop owners & in-house users
The project is an attempt to explore how contemporary architecture could play its’ role in a rapidly changing historical urban environment. It tries to address how heritage and culture can be extended and how the city can be allowed to evolve. The design process therefore, stands with the idea that citizens are the priority.
The design intent is to explore the role of contemporary architecture in a historical city/ urban environment.
“The city is for citizens”
The position stands with the idea that cities should essentially be designed for citizens. Hence, the architectural solutions at present should essentially be contemporary in order to transcend our time. This would eventually guarantee a continuation and evolution of the city’s’ heritage and culture, than allowing it to die away.
The position embraces the idea that a heritage city should actively engage with contemporary global processes and trends in a positive way rather than being exclusive. If not the city and its’ citizens will die away in time. In other words, natural process of evolution should not merely be allowed rather accommodated. A positive engagement with these global trends will create a fusion between past and present leading to a better continuation of tradition, values systems with reformation.
Kandy, is one such city which undergoing a rapid transformation. The “physical context” of Kandy is a city scape which had sense of romanticism. Yet, that city scape which was celebrated, is decaying rapidly.
In order to explore the design intent, the project has selected a very prominent space in the heart of Kandy as an example site, and has reimagined the same space.
The program primarily attempts to allow the city to flow/ extend through the site and beyond. Therefore, architectural program identifies significance of designing voids of the city where citizens/ pedestrians inhabit, which is the spine of the city.
While embracing global trends, the program tries to break the spatial syntax, which is the economic and cultural logic of a modern shopping mall and reorganizes it as a major response to the city and its’ citizens.
The architectural program therefore allows, the city to define the mall/design and the site and not the other way around. In other words, the design tries to celebrate the notion that the whole city itself is the destination than individual projects/ buildings trying to become isolated attractions/icons in the city.
The design attempts to make a distinction to the historical layers while acknowledging the “city” in a subtle manner which thereby acknowledge the historical layers of the city and the presence of the contemporary layer and its evolution.
Text description provided by the project author.