Hiatus – The Unbuilt Projects

  • Singapore Cloud Centre, 1989
  • Bali Hyatt Hotel Extension, 1989

The large projects of the early eighties brought Bawa international recognition and in 1986 his work was celebrated in a Mimar book (Taylor) and in an exhibition at the R.I.B.A in London. Although he had been excited by the experience of designing large and prestigious buildings he missed the direct control which he had exercised over his earlier projects. After 1987 he spent less and less time in the office in Alfred House Road. He and his partner Poologasundram grew apart and after 1989 the practice effectively ceased to function. Bawa was now in his seventies and it was widely assumed that he would retire to Lunuganga and contemplate his garden. Nothing, however, could have been further from the truth. The closing of the office signalled a new period of creativity and he began to work from his Bagatelle Road home with a small group of young architects to produce a steady stream of fresh designs.


Bawa’s fame had spread far beyond the shores of Serendib and he now received numerous requests to lend his name to projects in the Far-East. Assisted at first by Dilshan Ferdinando and Sumangala Jayatilleke and later by Channa Daswatte he embarked on ambitious designs for a tropical glasshouse in Singapore’s Botanical Gardens, for an extension to the Hyatt Hotel on Bali, for a huge villa hotel on the island of Bintan and for a high-rise development in Penang. Requests for private houses also flooded in and he produced sketches for clients in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bangalore and Singapore. However none of these projects came to fruition and Bawa treated them as incubators for new ideas which he would use when the opportunity presented itself.