The Story Behind the Legend
In Sri Lanka, you’ll come across a spectacular range of architectural wonders ranging from the magnificent Sigiriya Rock Fortress, the majestic Temple of the Tooth in Kandy and the intricate Polonnaruwa Vatadage, to name but a few. However these are all remnants of the past and when it comes to modern architecture in Sri Lanka there is one name that will you will bound to hear all the time and that is, Geoffrey Bawa.
Who is Geoffrey Bawa?
Not only is the great Geoffrey Bawa one of Sri Lanka’s most renowned of architects but he is also placed amongst the most influential architects of his generation in Asia. He is considered to be the principal force behind “tropical modernism”.
Some of his best works include the Sri Lankan Parliament in Kotte (1982) and the beautiful Seema Malaka which is a Buddhist ordination temple situated on an island in the middle of Colombo’s Beira Lake. Moreover, one of his best and final works was a luxury resort located between the Kalu Ganga and the Indian Ocean in Kalutara. He started working on the project in 1995 but unfortunately due to his illness and death, he was not able to complete it himself. Thankfully, one of his best protégés took on the massive project and after lying dormant for 15 years, the Bawa’s dream became a reality retaining most of his original constructions. This Geoffrey Bawa hotel is the current Anantara Kalutara Resort.
Born to lawyer Justice B. Bawa and Bertha Marianne Schrader, of mixed German, Scottish and Sinhalese descent, Geoffrey Bawa has a brother named Bevis Bawa who is a celebrated landscape architect. Bawa was schooled at the Royal College in Colombo. He got his education in architecture from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in England.
Dream Home Now a Top Attraction
While he was in Italy, Geoffrey Bawa dreamed of buying a villa and settling down to enjoy the quiet life. However, since that did not happen he returned to Sri Lanka in 1948 and bought a deserted rubber estate in Lunuganga where he created a spectacular country home with an Italian garden. This stunning residence is now open to the public and is considered to be one of the top attractions in Kalutara.
Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.