2010/2011 Cycle


Suhanya Raffel, Trustee, Geoffrey Bawa Trust, Deputy Director, Curatorial and Collection Development at the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane Australia.

Kerry Hill, Architect, one of the foremost architects of Asia and has won numerous awards including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2001.

Ajita de Costa is a Chartered Textile Technologist by profession, heads a well known family owned clothing enterprise. He is also the Chairman of the Heritage Foundation for the Environment and Arts.

Architect Jayantha PereraFIA(SL), Past President of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (2008 –2009).

Trustee Archt. Channa Daswatte and Archt. C. Anjalendran joined the judges to help facilitate effective on-site Technical and Physical Reviews.


British High Commission in Colombo 7 by Richard Murphy Associates


Kalundewa Retreat in Dambulla by Sanath Liyanage


Lion Brewery Museum by Sheran Henry Associates


Tsunami Housing in Payagala by Sheran Henry Associates


Sarath Abeyrathne house in Colombo 5 by Thisara Thanapathy


Holiday Bungalow in  Ulpatha, Matale by Thisara Thanapathy


Udayapuram School in Periyakallar by Yudish Ganeshan


Holiday Bungalow in Avissawella by Palinda Kannangara




Architect Thisara Thanapathy, won the prestigious Geoffrey Bawa Award 2010/2011 for Excellence in Architecture, for his design of the urban Sarath Abeyrathne house.

The First Runner-up 'Commendation' award went to Architect Yudish Ganesan for the Udayampuram School at Periyakallar, a tsunami school. 

There were two Honourable Mentions- the new British High Commission designed by Richard Murphy Associates and the Holiday Bungalow at Ulpotha also designed by Thisara Thanapathy. 





The British High Commission building responds to its setting by being the only purpose-built diplomatic building that is single storied.  The building consists of several east west oriented wings with a long wing placed at right angles connecting them all and becoming the main circulation conduit.  The architectural arrangement of the building allows for a variety of spatial configurations and enables various sections of the high commission to be isolated for security reasons.

The narrow widths of the separate buildings allow for penetration of natural light and ventilation to most areas.   The building is constructed of reinforced concrete to live up to its security expectsxations. This is however effectively softened and humanized by the use of Sri Lankan Vernacular materials such as the half round tiles covering the roof, the coconut wood shutters and polished concert floors and stones.

The Kalundewa resort consists of two buildings set across a water body filed with Kumbuk trees.  One an open pavilion and reception area on the edge of the artificial bund of the water body, overlooking a vast paddy field. The other amongst the trees in the water, is a two bed roomed house.

The entry pavilion is open on three sides with a glass wall on the third. It is anchored to the ground by two brick cubes housing an office, toilet and a small pantry. The entrance opens into a glazed double height living space amongst the trees to one side and two bedrooms on above the other to the on the other side.The project attempts to bring people into direct contact with nature and live literally amongst the trees.

Construction is of a steel frame structure and bare brick and glass infill. The choice of materials allow for a lightness of structure and transparency, which is used to take advantage of the site.

The Lion Museum is set on the grounds of the Lion Brewery as the public face of the factory.  The building is a two-storied space with a small upper level deck placed against the back wall of the space and leading to a small outdoor terrace.  Otherwise the space is glazed in with views into a small green area and the factory..The space is defined by overwhelming presence of several large antique copper beer brewing vats from the old Lion Brewery in Nuwara Eliya.

The building is well proportionate given that is mostly made from found material salvaged and recycled from an old brewery that had been demolished.. It is therefore an important exercise in the reuse of materials and contributes to environmental sustainability.

Then 20 houses in this tsunami village is laid out alone a main street accessing two other housing schemes and placed on roads set at right angles to the main axis. The houses consist of a small living room, a dining room and a single bedroom with an attached kitchen and toilet.

The house provides several innovative architectural solutions to allocate large amount of ground space for parking six cars.  The architect gives this space with access from the rare space of the house and uses the minimum needed height for parking,. The Space above this is used as the kitchen and dining space, which overlooks a courtyard into a double height living room. Half a level above the dining room is the two bedrooms set above the living room and half a level above that set above the dinning and kitchen area is another bedroom and study.  The circulation is tucked away for privacy and has its own courtyard for light and ventilation. .This courtyard also houses most of the service lines elegantly out of the way of the main living space.

This innovative approach shows a new direction in the design of the urban country house where every architectural move has a purpose of providing space and privacy on a tight site.

The holiday house at Ulpatha sits beautifully in the landscape.  The structure is a two storey open sided pavilion set at right angles to a timer walkway that stretches out from the entrance to the compound, through the house into the landscape. A minimalist cement wall set in the wooded landscape guides the approach to the entrance.   Most of the structure is placed off the ground with the upper floor floating about 12 feet over the ground in places.

The ground floor has an open kitchen and a dining room in addition to the covered part of the walkways, which act as an open living space. A spiral staircase leads up to a small sitting room over the walkway and two bedrooms at either end. The bed rooms are cleverly open out to the landscape allowing for views from these spaces too.   The structure is entirely made from reused steel sections from a factory. The upper floor of the house, which is also, the private living spaces are provided with privacy by recycles timber screens that also came from a factory.  The whole building is naturally it and ventilated.

The layout of this school built to replace one destroyed in the 2004 Tsunami is arranged  around two large play areas.  The rectilinear arrangements allows for central play spaces with circulation to and between buildings at the periphery. .Toilets are strategically placed and made accessible to all by ramps.

The scale and the form of the building relate this very well to the surrounding village, which also consist of small scale single and two storey buildings. The services are clearly provided in the toilets in appropriate locations.

All the buildings are well ventilated and there is a significant temperature difference between inside and outside. The acoustic qualities for teaching are excellent due to the use of simple finishes and roofs being exposed tiles. The exposed brick, polished cement floors and bright colours make for easy maintenance and for the buildings to look good.

The structure is approached through a glade of rubber trees and two stone walls  come out to embrace the visitors and draw them into the dining space.  The rest of the plan is very simple with a living space opening off one end of the dining room and overlooking pond, and a kitchen at the other. A bed room is placed at right angles to this linear space.

The staircase leads up to two more bedrooms, one overlooking the other, and the view, in a shared double height space. The bedroom placed one on top of the other is efficiently placed over the kitchen and service area. The furniture is appropriately simple and minimal.

Being totally open  in most part, the natural light and ventilation have been optimized by a stack effect created with an open ended gable working to keep it cool.

Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to both Ena de Silva Aluwihare and Barbara Sansoni Lewcock for their contributions to the Arts and Architecture of Sri Lanka. 

Michael Ondaatje, Author