The Kalalgoda House by Damith Premathilake Architects is located in its namesake suburb in Colombo, adjoining a picturesque paddy field that provides a backdrop to bring the nature-friendly house aims to bring together nature and architecture.
Despite the challenge of having to design on a narrow site, the 414m² house is designed for its tropical context to achieve an ideal orientation. The front of the land faces the entrance road while the rear faces the massive serene paddy field. This orientation helps to capture natural ventilation that creates a comfortable and cool atmosphere inside the house.
This free-flowing and minimalist dwelling fulfills the client’s wish to connect with nature by framing the views towards the paddy field. The view along with the use of cool earthy colours that reflect the greenery of nature, help blur the lines between indoors and outdoors, creating an overall tranquil experience.
A warm garden space paved with red gravel creates a pleasant entry. A shallow pond located at the centre of the house reflects the brick wall. The play of light and shadow on this brick wall during different times of day, adds to the charming ambiance of the house. The exposed wall also adds depth and texture while sensibly concealing the fact that it is a blind wall.
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The two-storied house connects all its internal spaces and opens them into the central double-height space with the two modest ‘Dan’ trees rising up from the pond which is partially open to sky. The use of subtle variations used in texture and material finishes varying from re-used railway sleepers to exposed brick are used in harmony to create a charming ambiance. Colour and material are manipulated in varying degrees to break the monotony at different spaces of the house which is first evident at the roadside view with the entry and garage door accentuated by a porous exposed brick wall which adds identity and character to the house, while offering glimpses of the lush paddy field beyond to those passing by.
The use of ivory-coloured titanium floors inside, coupled with elements made of timber have enhanced interior illumination while creating a minimalist yet pleasant atmosphere. The use of vertical timber screens for some of the bedroom windows ensures privacy for the user while also providing the space with unhindered natural ventilation. The incorporation of existing trees and terraces in upper levels create interesting spaces adorned with tree canopies from the site. Visual effects and spatial flow are incorporated for comfortable living throughout the two levels of the house, while considering the human scale to create a sense of intimacy and aesthetically pleasing contemporary tropical living space.
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Photos: Eresh Weerasuriya