Tuesday, March 31, 2009

creating simplicity (Book #2)

Architect Anura Ratnavibhushana has launched his book ‘ Creating Simplicity’ at the recently held architectural exhibition ‘Architect 2009’. I still could not get hold of a copy of this book.
Publishers link.

geoffry bawa's ena de silva house to be demolished: Part II (#56)

This is a letter to the editor by  Architect Ashley de Vos published on Sunday Times (29-03-2009).
see part I
Also here are few contemporary picture of the Ena De Silva House, as promised.
Photographs by Waruna Gomis

Sunday, March 29, 2009

imagining modernity: the architecture of valentine gunasekara (Book #1)

If Geoffrey is the ‘ying’ of Sri Lanka architecture, here is the ‘yang’ for you.
Though both Geoffrey and Valentine had their architectural upbringing firmly rooted in the mid 20th centaury modernism, they have taken different path once upon their return this ‘beautiful’ island. While Geoffrey moved towards a more ‘vernacular / regional’ (a whole topic by itself for another day) style, Valentine decided to stay the dyed in the wool modernist.

This book explores the reasons for such an approach and the resultant work, his professional relationship with Geoffrey and more importantly the socio –cultural background within which all those things happened. It is, in addition to a monograph of Valentine’s work, is almost a critical analysis of the caste and religious dynamics of the early part of post independent Sri Lanka.

But be warned, this is not your usual coffee table architectural book. It can be bit heavy reading at the beginning, but nevertheless a good book. And if you are a student of Sri Lankan architecture it is a must.

Author-Dr. Anoma Pieris

'Londonbaba's' inteviews with Valentine (1-7). Here is the 1st one.

Friday, March 27, 2009

geoffry bawa's ena de silva house to be demolished

This iconic piece of Sri Lankan architecture is apparently going to be demolished. I'm still trying to get a couple of contemporary pictures and some more information. Meanwhile you can check this out.
So the rumour is that a major portion of the house will be dismantled and transported to be re-assembled at University of Moratuwa (where I studied architecture, actually the only Sri Lankan university to offer an architectural graduate program. But that is a story for another day). Not a bad idea considering the situation. But I absolutely have no idea how about the logistics except for that the developer is willing to dismantle and transport ‘all’ the item free of charge.

The other option is to somehow preserve/conserve it as is in the same location. But there are couple of ethical issues we have to consider before taking this path. Remember that Sri Lanka has a conservation policy (however weak that is) and there is a registered list of (“listed”) buildings under the same. This house is NOT in that list. So if we were to ‘moth ball this without compensating the owner at the market price we will be doing not only a huge injustice to the owner but also set a not so good precedence.

If such a thing happens, knowing how things are happening around here, expect the next few properties of such calibre to ‘catch fire’ before going up for the sale.

check this flick album for photosgraphs

british high commision, colombo, sri lanka (cSLa #1)

British High Commission in Sri Lanka moved in to its new premises recently. This is a project by Richard Murphy Architects in association with local architects Milroy Perera Associates.
Photographs by Waruna Gomis

can architects do more with less?

I'm still warming up to this subject! (I have warmed up! Here we go)

The theme this time, for the exhibition architect 2009 was ‘doing more with less’. National Conference a.k.a. ‘sessions’, which was held concurrently, pursued the theme.

The menu was familiar. As usual I managed to munch through the whole green, energy saving, carbon footprint, low cost construction methods etc. in one go, without a clue as to how one can architecturally do more with less. However there were two noteworthy exceptions this mundane meal. 
One was the lecture by architect Madhura Premathilake in which he raised the very question “is architecture as a profession actually capable do more with less or actually what we really mean is doing a little bit less that what we used to do”. Then architect Ashley de Vos mentioned that most of the remedies and ‘new’ solutions we prescribe today are in fact essentially what we have been practising as architects about 10 –20 years ago. (Authors note: i.e. Simple colonnaded classrooms and rural hospital wards, government offices with large verandas, which are well suited for tropical climate and less costly to built)

Let me also add another question to this; is it really necessary to do more with less? How about doing less altogether.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

architect 2009

Architect 2009 was held from March 4 to 8 at the BMICH for the 27th consecutive year. This annual showcase event for both local architects and construction industry traders is organised by the SLIA. As is the tradition, two architectural schools Dept of Architecture, University of Moratuwa and CSA also took part.
The theme this time was ‘Doing more with less’. National Conference a.k.a. ‘sessions’ were also held concurrently.

SLIA - Sri Lanak Institute of Architects
Dept. of Architecture, University of Moratuwa
CSA - City School of Architecture (formarly Colombo School of Architecture)
BMICH - Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall
Photographs by Janaka & Niroshan