Address: 311-317 King St, Newtown
Geoffrey Bawa (1919-2003) is the most renowned architect in Sri Lanka and is the principal force behind what is known today as 'tropical modernism'. Bawa was initially a barrister and came into architecture quite late at the age of 38. In 1961 the house in Alfred House Road that had been designed for a Burgher doctor called Noel Bartholomeusz was cancelled as it was nearing completion and Bawa persuaded his partners at E. R. & B. to take it over as their office. The original design was developed in the spirit of the Ena de Silva House, though the plot was narrower and longer. A first courtyard, separated from the street by a two-storey lodge containing garages, servants' accommodation and an entrance archway faced a single-storey pavilion containing a dining room and kitchens. Beyond, a formal pool court led to the main pavilion, which was occupied by the principal living room with bedrooms on an upper floor. The living room opened via a covered verandah into a final garden court. The change from house to office was effected with so little effort that one is left to wonder whether Bawa had prior knowledge of his client's intentions. With its courtyards, loggias and verandahs, the building created a pleasant and comfortable working environment that obviated the need for air-conditioning and offered a sample of the practice's work to any prospective clients.