Geoffrey Bawa Award for Excellence in Architecture 2013/2014
The third cycle of Geoffrey Bawa Awards for excellence in Architecture was launched on the 23rd July 2013. Applications are called from contenders to the Award on the prescribed forms available at the Geoffrey Bawa Trust office from the 23rd of July 2013 on week days from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Documents should be submitted by the 1st of November 2013.
The aim of this award is to recognize and reward significant examples of contemporary Sri Lankan architecture. This was achieved in the previous cycles, 2008 and 2011 which celebrated the winners as well as the shortlist. The first and the second cycles indeed generated a wide interest, and indeed the Trust hopes that this interest will bring in a greater number and even better schemes that did not perhaps enter in the last cycle.
Once again the award will be a sum of one million rupees for the winner. The winner will be announced at a gala event that will be held on the 23rd of July 2014 coincide with Geoffrey Bawa’s 95th birth anniversary.
The Geoffrey Bawa Memorial Lecture was held on the 23rd May 2013 at the P de S Kularatne Hall, Ananda College, Maradana at 6.30 p.m.The Geoffrey Bawa Memorial Lecture is an annual event organized by the Geoffrey Bawa Trust coincides with the Architect Geoffrey Bawa’s death anniversary.
The judges for the 2013/2014 awards are Ms. Eugenie Mack (Trustee, Geoffrey Bawa Trust), Architect Ashok Lall (Architect specializing in sustainable design based in New Delhi), Prof. Chitra Wedikkara (President, Sri Lanka Institute of Architects and the Managing Director of Chartered Architect/Quantity Surveyor Qserve (Pvt) Ltd.), Deshamanya Prof. Radhika Coomaraswamy (former Under Secretary General of the United Nations and Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict).
The Geoffrey Bawa Awards scheme has been consciously modeled on the scheme, which is run by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Geneva. That is generally acknowledged to have had a very marked effect on architecture in developing countries since it was inaugurated by His Highness The Aga Khan in 1977 and has now completed twelve of its three year cycles. The Trust also acknowledges the importance of the honour that was bestowed upon Deshamanya Bawa when he received The Aga Khan’s Special Award for a Lifetime’s Achievement in Architecture in 2001.
Geoffrey Bawa is now recognized as having been one of the greatest Asian architects of the second half of the twentieth century and one of the most significant Sri Lankans of his generation. With his small group of talented assistants and his circle of creative friends and collaborators, he established a whole canon of prototypes for new buildings in newly independent Sri Lanka.
During a career that spanned forty years Bawa designed about thirty hotels, of which fourteen were realized, twelve of them in Sri Lanka. The Bentota Beach and Serendib hotels were the first purpose-built hotels to be built in the island and they set the standards for the rest to follow. Both contributed immeasurable to the image of Sri Lanka that was projected to the rest of the world. Many Guide Books to the island now include his buildings as “must see” places and rate his hotels as the best on the island.
Through a series of innovative private houses built during the 1960s, Bawa actually changed the way that many Sri Lankans lived, demonstrating how it was possible to be both modern and yet still reflect tradition. But he also built innovative schools and orphanages, office buildings and factories, religious buildings and universities, pioneering new ways of studying, working and worshipping in an equatorial monsoon climate. He bequeathed to Sri Lankans the most potent image of their island democracy: the Parliament on an island at Kotte in 1982.
The Trust was indeed heartened by the response and the quality of work that was submitted at the last two cycles. The variety of projects that made the shortlist were all of consistently high quality with a great deal of innovative thinking represented in them. It would have indeed pleased Geoffrey Bawa to see the vital and innovative design ideas, which lifted the spirits, as he was himself a restless designer who never stood still and never repeated himself.
The Trust wishes to promote the idea that good design is important both to the wellbeing of the people of Sri Lanka and to the image which their country projects to the rest of the world. It hopes to bring awareness of good design not just to architects, but to all those who are involved in the built environment and hopefully reverse trends of construction in the landscape of Sri Lanka. Perhaps, the Award process will raise the ambitions of all those who participate and that it will confer a special status on those who are celebrated. It also hopes to initiate a debate about architecture in Sri Lanka and to increase awareness of the importance of the built environment.
The lecture will be delivered by Architect Kate Otten from South Africa and the lecture will be on ‘”Landscapes for the Spirit”.
Kate Otten is one of South Africa’s most recognized architects, known for being an architect of ‘place’. Her buildings are born out of the South African context, weaving together materials, skills, politics, and landscape to create places that feed and nurture the human spirit. Kate believes that buildings have an emotional presence and that fulfilling the emotional and spiritual needs of the users is as important as creating a functional space.
Kate started her studies in Durban and graduated from the University of the Witswatersrand in Johannesburg with an exceptional 100% for her thesis. She worked for several leading architectural practices before setting up her own practice in 1989.