GBA 2013/2014 CYCLE

The third cycle of the Geoffrey Bawa Award for Excellence in Architecture was launched on  23rd July 2013 and award ceremony was held on 23rd July 2014, coincide with Geoffrey Bawa's 95th birth anniversary.


The  entries were judged by an independent panel of judges appointed by the Geoffrey Bawa Trust. 

Architect   Ashok B. Lall, B.A. Cantab, AA Diploma, AIIA -  Architect  specializing  in  sustainable design based in New Delhi.

Prof.  Chitra  Wedikkara,  President,  Sri Lanka Institute of Architects, Managing Director– Chartered Architect/Quantity Surveyor Qserve (Pvt) Ltd.

Ms. Eugenie Mack, Trustee, Geoffrey Bawa Trust.

Deshamanya Prof. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Former Under Secretary General   of  the  United  Nations   and  Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict.


IFRCS Community Center for Tsunami Affected Community in  Matara  by Archt. Chinthaka C. Wickramage -  2009


Amal & Himarsha House in Moratuwa  by Archt. Sudesh Nanayakkara – 2012


Toll Plazas & Toll Gate office Buildings of Southern Expressway in Kottawa by Archt. Dr. Janaka Wijesundara - 2012


Guava House in  Mawanella  by Atcht.  Ranjan Aluwihare – 2008  


Architect's House by Archt. Chamila Alwis Weerasinge in Mattegoda – 2004


The Royal Bar & Hotel in Kandy by Archt. Yudish L. Ganesen – 2011) 


Temple Pavilion at Kolonnawa by Archt. Palinda Kannangara – 2011


Kadju House in Tangalle by Archt. Pradeep Kodikara – 2007


Hatton National Bank Green Building in Nittambuwa – 2011



Architect Pradeep Kodikara, won the prestigious Geoffrey Bawa Award 2013/2014 for Excellence in Architecture, for his design "Kadju House" in Tangalle.  

The re-design of  the Royal Bar and Hotel in Kandy  earned its architect, Yudish Ganesen, the runner-up trophy while  Chamila Alwis Weerasinghe's design of his own home in Mattegoda.  Ranjan Aluwihare's design of the Guava House in Mawanella, Kegalle  received commendations. 


Honorary Professor Dr. Ronald Lewcock and Emeritus Professor Dr. Senake Banadaranayke  were awarded the Geoffrey Bawa Special Award 2014 for a Lifetime contribution to the Arts and Architecture. 


Renowned Indian film director and producer Mira Nair delivered the keynote address at the award ceremony.

Mira Nair Speech at the Geoffrey Bawa Award 2014

The small community center aspires to fulfill a need to provide a space for community activities within a village that was affected by the Tsunami of 2004. The building is used for numerous activities such as academic instruction and community meetings. It is places within the premises of the village temple defacement to its preaching hall. The sitting, with its high gable-end facing the Bodhi Tree, is significant although this unfortunately is not reflected within the building.

The concrete frame structure celebrates clear modernist references and visually dominates the anesthetic of the building with exposed  brick wall panels and a traditional timber and terra cotta tiles roof.  Some of   extensions made to it  through, especially in the eave outside, seemed redundant. The pallete of materials used is very simple, but stands out amidst the line-washed buildings in the complex.  The building is constructed on stilts off the ground, with a rhetorical reference to a traditional "tampita vihara", or image house on stilts, and consequently  brings up issues particularly about cleaning and universal access into the building which should have been  given due consideration. 

The family house is built as two interconnected residences for the owners and their parents.  A blank facade  punctuated  by the entry doors and the garages reacts to the reality of the suburban landscape outside, and suggests a world well removed from it inside. A hint of this world is had from the vertical timber screen within a white concert  frame glimpsed over the exterior wall.The two houses are designed to be entirely separate connected only on the roof terrace. The larger house is arranged around two courtyards that bring in natural light and ventilation and the smaller house around one.  The main living spaces are placed at the far end from the entrances to the houses with the main courtyards allowing for cross ventilation to these rooms. The well finished house uses materials of a minimalist pristine white palette,, which fills the interior with light.  Hard landscaping materials further the whiteness and light theme used in the house extending into the highly articulated courtyards with nature represented in a single tree.  Steel staircases, allowing them transparency within the building and  in both cases suspended over  pools within light wells, leads to the upper levels of both buildings.

The Toll Plazas on the new network of the expressways established a distinctive tone with their architecture.  By choosing a singular design for  all the expressway related structures, there is a  definitive statement of style and consistency.  The architect has specifically stated that  the  buildings are a  reinterpretation of the building techniques  of Sri  Lanka in  concert based  on the traditional articulation of  structural elements such as  at the central shrine of the temple of the tooth.   The services have been elegantly incorporated  into the structures without too much fuss and the  robust concert  constructions allows for easy maintenance. Overall, the assembly of the structures expresses a sense of solidity and firmness as becoming of a gateway. The functions of tollbooths are well integrated within the overall design and a discrete use of air-conditioning. A lush roof garden that has been envisaged is yet to come to fruition and should add considerably to the final esthetic. 

The tollgates celebrate the new expressways in a appropriate manner in the way  they are  well integrated with the landscape of the country in spite of their modest  monumentality.

The Guava House  is delicately  poised at the crest of a hill amidst a grove of rubber trees in the  western foothills in Hemmatagama near Mawanella.  The design is organised around an axis which links a view of Bible Rock on  the west  and rolling rubber planted hills on the other. An entry and stair hall flanked by a bedroom and service area leads through a short corridor, itself flanked  by the two principal bedrooms, into the  main living space which is open in turn, to an  arbor of trees and an infinity pool.  This double height  space on the gable end opens onto a pool deck with pergolas over  part of it.   A kitchen behind a bar and a dinning area under the pergola overlooking the pool and views over the plantation covered hills make it an attractive place to spend a relaxed vacation.  

The Core of the structure is made from brick and a steel frame with the rest made from timber, with the timber framed thatched roof, the  dominant element in the design.  The rest if the spaces are inserted within the geometry brought about  by the support for this roof structure.  A mezzanine deck has been placed in the middle under the highest  part  of the roof.   With wonderful views through the open gables at the two ends, the need to glaze them  has fortunately does not allow  for  heat to escape.  The extensive use of wood with a minimal use of brick, glass and steel, allows for the house to become more sustainable with a low embodied energy, although its actual cost is of concern. The use of different species of timer to different aesthetic and structural ends  complements the overall aesthetic.

The modest house occupies a typical  site of the Colombo suburbs.  Built with extremely modest means by an architect,  the house provides shelter and enjoyment  for his family.   This house is an easy in the use of sustainable construction while creating a dynamic everyday arena.

The main living space including the living room, dinning room and kitchen, are  interconnected and all open into gardens and yards in both directions, giving good cross  ventilation and keeping in touch with the thickly planted vegetation outside.  Open double  height spaces reaching up to the simple pitched roof making connections with  the private upper level spaces and the sky, enhancing the feeling of openness  in this otherwise restricted plot of land.  A large pond occupies most the rare garden, brining in cool air that passes through the vertical spaces.  High walls provide privacy from the neighbouring small houses surrounding the whole ensemble.  Brick and cement are used alongside unpretentious cement floors  with some decorative tiles embedded in it for colour and enjoyment, but sometimes detracts from the serenity of the spaces.  These  materials including the timber framed terra cotta tile roof, comprise a palette  commonly used in such suburban houses and all locally available.  The clever use of strategically placed steel grills had reduced the need for glazed windows.  This makes the house a model of sustainability.

The careful conservation  of the old Royal Bar and Hotel in Kandy is a good example of adaptive  rehabilitation within the center of the old city.  The existing building has  been reused and converted into a respected establishment.  Retaining the old bar opening off the street verandah and into the central courtyard, was and remains a regular watering hole for the public.  The hotel itself is placed on the upper levels with a well-appointed  restaurant and four traditional small rooms placed on this level added  during the conservation.  A small conference room and  toilets are discretely on the far side of the central well-planted courtyard.  All of the services remain on the ground floor and the small kitchens open into a small light well on a side.

All the material used in the conservation and renovation work are sympathetic to the building.  The additions integrated them seamlessly with the existing with all the detailing following existing samples.  Even new  interventions such as the modest detail of adding height to the upper level handrail haven been sensitively made.  The colours and textures of the paint and wood have been selected to reflect a high standard of general finishing and is a convincing examples of what can be done with old buildings in our cities.

With this temple pavilions at the Kolonnawa Raja Maha Vihare in a suburb, east of the Baseline Road in Colombo, the architect has designed a long open sided image house with two pavilions on either side. The structure is essentially  a terra cotta shingled timber-framed roof help up on thin timber columns  on heavy cement bases, reminiscent of a traditional "Ambalama".  However, their geometry could have been given more consideration to prevent water from two of the roofs of the side pavilions falling directly into what is ostensibly the main entrance to the building.  While the pavilions were intended to provide shelter for an existing Buddha statue with its back to the Bodhi Tree, these unfortunately block the view of the tree from the pilgrims worshipping the statue.

Not withstanding these issues, the  building excludes serenity through its use of a  palette of traditional materials  including stone, wood, terra cotta and  polished cement.

The Kadju House stands within a small plantation of Kadju (Annacardium Occidentale) after which it is named.

Approached from below, with the smell of the unseen ocean several hundred meters away, the house is an  open pavilion straddling a wall on the left  and a solid  block of rooms on the right with a central opening looking through into more of the plantation.  Arrival at the open sided living room with two bedrooms with wither side  is past another bedroom  and a kitchen placed  behind the wall.  A staircase leads up one side onto the  upper-level pavilion originally glimpsed from the  entry.  The full revelation  of this architectural promenade is made where a swimming pool is places above the first bedroom and kitchen area, drawing the gaze out to the magnificent view of the ocean in the direction from which the original approach was made. All the rooms are cross-ventilated and are comfortably appointed.  

The  structure  finished with polished  cement,  is clearly articulated.  The   construction uses a palette of materials of  brick plastered  walls and polished cement floors to  further define a sense of repose. A thoughtful and unique use of  alternative materials such as cinnamon stick screens illustrates  an awareness of  local resources. 

The Hatton National Bank branch in Nittambuwa is shaped by the large Ceylon Oak tree (Schleichera trijuga) that is on the site.

The design uses  the shade from the tree to  insulate the interior of the building from the excesses of direct sunlight while using an extensive amount of glass to fill the building with natural light.  Even on a grey  day,  you do not need to switch on electric lights.  This illumination is achieved through the extensive use of glass and steel as primary building materials.  Yet, the air-conditioning requires a sophisticated system to control heat gain from the transparency, bringing into  question the energy losses due to the use of such materials.

The spatial arrangement is competently handled and based on a central spine with a pitched roof of glass, which is indicative of the main circulation axis.  While the primary banking halls are at the entrance and lead straight off the lobby, the axial circulation takes  a customer inward and upwards to the private banking and vault paces at the rare.  The design is  intelligible to any visitor as  a result  of this central axial organisation and the whole building is visually transparent and light, projecting an image of accessibility and ease of during  business.