- Architect: Dushmantha Bandara Ranabahu
- Location: Kurunegala, Sri Lanka
- Area: 4,350 ft2
- Land Extent: 1.5 acre
- Project Year: 2014
- Photographer: Raveen Poornika, Shanaka Kalhan
- Author: Waruni Karunarathne
Text description provided by the architect.
The trends of Colonial architecture have sustained in Sri Lanka even to date. Many architects apply various elements of colonial architecture in both domestic and industrial designs to add grandeur and sophistication with a touch of simplicity. Wallawwa, a Colonial manor house in Sri Lanka, has been an all-time favorite inspiration of the architectural community when designing houses, especially in Sri Lankan village settings. Inspired by the architectural structure of Wallawwa, this design, despite its traditional cover, well for a modern indoor lifestyle. Incorporation of elements of Wallawwa in this design conveys grandeur, sophistication and simplicity and creates a lovely spacious home with favorable light and ventilation…
The client lived most of his life abroad, away from home. He came back to his village with his family wanting to settle down and have a laid-back life. He has always cherished the memories of his ancestral house where his grandparents lived. With full of nostalgia and love for the old way of life, he wanted to recreate a space which allows him freedom and inspiration. For him, home is a spiritual hermitage that gives him a sense of calmness as he paces through the daily chores.
Located in Kurunegala away from the busy congested urban setting, the site has an innate calm atmosphere. The ancestral house of the client is also in a close vicinity to the site. The design of the new house is done in a way to reflect the grandeur and simplicity of the old house and to celebrate the old way of life. The design makes use of the exiting natural topography of the land to create the building space.
The design responds to the natural levels of the ground by incorporating two raised floor level to the single storey house. The entrance of the house has a long veranda which is an element of the traditional Sri Lankan house. Traditional Sri Lankan houses were usually very minimalistic and consumed a very small building space as the lifestyle oriented around the outdoor activities. The veranda was the place they sat down to sip a cup of tea or converse with the family and the neighbors. The long veranda is designed to recreate this traditional Sri Lankan way of life where the family could sit on traditional recliner chairs and spend gazing outside – like how grandparents used to do.
The interior of the traditional Sri Lankan houses used to be small and gloomy. To suit the design for the modern lifestyle of the client, the design uses certain elements of Colonial architecture to make the structure large and spacious. The first raised floor of the house consists of a living area and a courtyard. The second raised floor level encompasses another courtyard, a dining area, TV lounge, kitchen and 5 bedrooms including the master bedroom. Upon the client’s requirement, separate garage, service area and servants’ quarters have been incorporated into the design.
The veranda and the two raised floor levels are also a good filtering mechanism to determine the visitors who are allowed into the house. The raised floor levels also separate the visitor area from the private area and clearly demarcates what’s private and accessible to the visitors. The living area opens to one courtyard in the first raised floor level and the five bedrooms open to the courtyard in the second raised floor level. The use of raised floor levels clearly demarcates what’s private and what’s accessible to the visitors, without having to partition the two areas. This helps making the space visually larger and more spacious – which gives a sense of freedom.
The courtyard is a frequently used feature of the Colonial architecture that are being applied to modern houses. Two courtyards, one for each floor levels, are used to give more light and ventilation to the house. White washed walls, wooden doors, windows and the ceiling as well as the light colour titanium floor enhances the simplicity of the design making it more elegant.