thomas m wilson

Tropical Architecture – Visiting Geoffrey Bawa’s Place

December 6th, 2016

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I’ve arrived in Sri Lanka.

Let me be honest: first impressions of Colombo bring forth descriptors like pushy, moustache-wearing, women-dominating, smog-covered, coarse, opportunistic and disheveled. It is not a city that anybody should rush to visit.  However this morning I found my way through this city to a tiny pocket of beauty and calm – the private townhouse of the famed Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa.  He is a man who sought to answer the question: what should human accommodation in the tropics look like?  One of his answers is found at his own residence, Number 11 in Colombo.

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His idea of a tropical architecture, open to the warm air and natural vegetation, while also cool and light, feels good to be in.

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Throughout the house art works appear as little surprises, always inviting the eye to linger on a painting or a sculpture or an unusual chair. His house is almost like Sir John Soane’s house in London, redone by an early twentieth century denizen of equatorial climes.

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Most of all walking around the house it was nice to be reminded that some men treasure beauty and live for the dance of the imagination in space.

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