Architecture Residential design

Architect gets around curved site challenge by taking introverted approach for tropical Sri Lanka residence

April 25, 2020

Architect Chathurika Kulasinghe has designed a house for a young couple in Sri Lanka who wanted a place that would provide respite from their hectic schedules. Located in the residential Horahena neighbourhood of Hokandra suburb, 13kms from Colombo, this 114m² property is characterised by its curved formation that is derived from the site layout – a 6.56 perch plot with a cul-de-sac of the common access way defining the curved edge of the site.

This particular site was purchased due to budgetary limitations. The design intended to use this oddly-shaped site in a positive way, using the natural curvature of the site as the determinant in generating a positive spatial experience. Embracing this curved edge rather than contending it, the architect took an introverted approach, creating internal gardens and much needed free space within this small site. The concave edge of the site being utilised at the entrance point to the premises is characterised by a rustic exposed brick wall.

Upon entrance to the premises, one walks into the living and dining space, with the ambiance of an open pavilion, its organic form allowing for a fluid conversation with the curvilinear gardens, the space opens out to. With no views and the land being blocked by other neighbouring plots, the architect designed the living and dining space as a pavilion with garden strip so neither side, allowing the space to feel expansive – as if the garden were part of the roofed pavilion space. This non – obstructive feeling of continuity in the pavilion is achieved by a beamless space – by creating straight upstand beams that are used as seating on the upper level.

The edges on the upper-level terrace are treated as planters, providing much need green space for the master bedroom. Embellished with lush green plants native to the locality such as habarala (Alocasia macrorrhizos), heliconia or “Lobster Claws” and banana Trees, the curvilinear gardens flanking the curved edges of the pavilion are contained within the site by raising the boundary walls – an introverted approach to suit the personalities of the young couple.

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The stairs lead to the master bedroom upstairs which in turn opens out to the terrace that appears to “float” above the pavilion space below, adorned with greenery on either side of the linear walk on the terrace. The master bedroom has a sloping roof that creates a large spatial volume – a peak in the spatial experience, with a feature exposed brick wall being created as an earthy and rustic material to tone down the space and create a homely ambiance.

Earthy, rustic undertones complement simple white plastered walls and are used carefully so that the architecture is simple to meet the busy lifestyle of the owners and work within budgetary constraints, yet colourful elements and greenery create a tropical environment.

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Photos: Ramitha Watareka Photography

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