“A little piece of drama at the edge of the street” is Archt Arosha Perera’s description of his project Petal Guru, situated at the edge of Tickell Road, Borella.

By Chamindra Warusavitharana | Photography by Arosha Perera

The composition of glass walls at the entrance emerging from a background of solid concrete walls covered in rich vegetation reveal the interior of the flower shop. It is an arresting sight to any passer by. The greenery emerging from the walls bestows an air of a tropical wilderness on the building making its presence felt.

The owner of Petal Guru is in Archt Arosha’s words, a renaissance man who loves nature and collects art crafts. These were used in composing an atmosphere rich in texture, colour and artistic value. The Architect said that he believes in creating a sense of awe to attract and retain attention especially when designing commercial buildings and the glass walls and the surface plants succeed in stealing the attention away from the surroundings. Further explaining the concept behind surface plants he states, “the concept of controlled plant growth over buildings has become a recent trend abroad and these are called ‘Grow Walls’, I hope to develop this further with future buildings.”

In order to provide a good water proofing system the Architect built a double wall with a gap in the middle. The inner wall is waterproofed while the outer wall was designed to allow roots to latch on to and was equipped with a drip irrigation system. The drip irrigation system saves water and fertilizer by allowing the water to drip slowly on to the roots of the plants. This system if well adapted could provide insulation for most buildings. Using plants as part of the façade also proved to be inexpensive.

The interior is just as alluring. A magnificent altar at the entrance beckons visitors to explore the flower shop further. “This is a small building but there are lots of different things happening at different levels,” affirms the Architect. The first floor interior décor consist of what the shop is about: flowers with the towering altar giving shape to the character of the room.

A graceful staircase enclosed by a gold painted wall lead to the next level. The staircase is softly lit by the glow of light pouring from the concaves placed artistically on the wall. An abundance of European and Indian statues, paintings, old and contemporary furniture have been used to retain the awe-inspiring aura on the upper level.

“We used practical material such as timber, stone and concrete for specific purposes in constructing the building” states Archt Perera speaking about the construction process. In line with the theme of sustainable architecture, the entire interior was put together with materials and antiques that the client already had. “It was like cooking with the ingredients you already have in the kitchen cupboards” he elaborates .

The owner’s ample collection of art, the surface plants and the roof top garden had gone into defining the personality of this construction. This is the end result that Archt Arosha Perera strived to achieve – a practical and visible building that reflects the client’s personality.

Principle Architect/ Architectural firm:

Milroy Perera/ Milroy Perera Associates (PVT) Ltd.

Project Architect: Arosha Perera

Other Consultants:

Structural Engineer: Nanadana Abesuriya

Area of the Site: 4275 sq ft

Area of the Project: 1355 sq ft

Date of Completion: Mid 2001

Project Period: 10 months

Contractor: N&A Engineering

Client: Rohan Jayakody (Shirohana)