“The World Is Flat” is the latest idiom that adorns most forums: a world without boundaries, fences and barricades. Everything connects, everything overlaps in all directions: people, arts, technology, lifestyles and of course, architecture.

Architecture is the tangible expression of a community’s goals and aspirations. Although subtly, buildings talk, buildings communicate, even to the extent of dictating how we behave in varying situations and circumstances.

In this time and age of ‘Globalisation’ these situations are not remote or confined. As much as the circumstances themselves, architecture has also become universal. Architecture, especially architecture for public, is exposed and scrutinised fuelled simply through increased interest, through travel and media.

The public projects discussed here are a tribute to this ‘universality’ springing up as answers to building problems in different contexts, different magnitudes.

The tsunami came and went, devastating most of South and Southeast Asia, physically and more importantly, emotionally. Grief was the same from the tip of India to the top of Indonesia. However, the tsunami also showcased to the entire world the collective strength of the region, being able to rise again from the rubble. The aftermath reactions were mutual and kicked off with the desire to provide a better built environment. Architects tried hard to help erase etched memories, to give new hope. New concepts were discovered and new avenues sought, in order to find solutions to suit local ideals and to solve a common regional problem: the bid to re-build its future.

The sea, once a foe, continues to present itself with the golden beaches and clear blue skies. Sri Lanka has always been a much sought after tourist destination in the tropics. Some of the best architecture in the island owes its credit to hotels and resorts, particularly along the southern coastal belt. However, the tourism industry has been hard in recent times, with a sharp drop in tourist arrivals. Architecture, drawing inspiration from our rich cultural heritage, may help build reassurance in a war-stained nation, to the native as well as the tourist. We all stand to gain.

A few of our export industries have drawn fair attention internationally in the recent past, particularly in the apparel sector. Thus, the image of the corporate entity becomes most important in the competitive world of global commerce. Clever image building, while essentially addressing the client’s needs is to create architecture that fits into contemporary situations, locally and internationally.

Thus, the journal issue is dedicated to exploring local architecture that aspires to speak to a wider audience, architecture that creates far reaching ripples.

Zeena Marikkar