“once upon a time, there existed local, autonomous, distinct and well-defined, robust and culturally sustaining connections between geographical place and cultural experience. This ‘cultural identity’ identity was something people simply ‘had’ as an undisturbed existential possession, an inheritance, a benefit of traditional long dwelling, of continuity with the past. Identity, then, like language, was not just a description of cultural belonging; it was a sort of collective treasure of local communities. However, it is fragile that needs protecting and preserving as it could be lost due to the corrosive power of globalization” 

The question presented as a result therefore is, are cities simply becoming clones of each other in this globalised world? Are cities beginning to look alike? Feel alike? Are people beginning to dress and eat the same?

Is architecture losing its character and its identity and by just following suite with what is in vogue?

Sri Lankan architecture today, has created an identity. It is an identity that is distinguished mainly by its bias to nature and its approach to building within climatic restrictions; its main aim being to protect the user from the elements. Although today, the Sri Lankan architect has restrained himself from using the traditional building methods such as wattle and daub and thatched roofing, the approach to architecture has been similar and this identity has been passed down the ages and retained to a great extent.

Today, the fact that the Sri Lankan architect is moving forward, is being recognised not only locally, but also overseas. The Sri Lanka Institute of Architects is proud that amongst its membership are international award winners, that members’ work is being featured in foreign publications, and that a large number of architects are being commissioned with work overseas. This facilitates meetings between responsible architects and interested clients at a global scale; make the expertise and experience in the construction sector globally available and enable architects from diverse conditions to confront their ideas and concepts, share their experiences, broaden their knowledge, and learn from their differences.

This issue focuses on this recognition overseas, and most importantly the challenge the architect has faced in presenting the Sri Lankan style abroad, giving the foreigner a taste of Lanka, and creating an appreciation of an identity, a building style which is unique and most of all in this globalised world, Sri Lankan.

Peshali Perera