By Udeshi Amarasinghe | Photography Yasumori Harano

Situated in close proximity to the Nugegoda junction, the land is surrounded by trees. Archt Philip Weeraratne, considering the young clients’ requirements, transformed this property so that the outdoors seamlessly blended with the interior, to create a sense of modern tropical living.

The clients were a young couple living overseas. Since they were starting a family and had a young child, their requirement was for a modern home that fulfilled all their needs and also provided a space for entertaining friends and family, when they eventually move to Sri Lanka.

“They wanted tropical living with a modern edge, to go beyond the traditional, vernacular bent rustic architecture. The clients were willing to stretch the budget for more detail where architecture was concerned,” explained Archt Weeraratne.

The house had to be designed so that the trees on the land were incorporated into the structure. Though the property was in close proximity to the Nugegoda junction, the neighbourhood was very green and according to Archt Weeraratne had an atmosphere “almost like what Colombo was ten years ago, with lovely single storey buildings. The key factor was merging the clients’ lifestyle and the environment to create modern tropical architecture.”

With the aim of giving a design that was new, pioneering and inventive, Archt Weeraratne created a house that was “full of surprises.” The design itself is cube form with very straight lines. Upon entering through the main door one would be greeted by a large internal pool, which is a reflective pond that extends to the garden. The dining and living room overlook the central courtyard, which consists of the reflective pond and gravel courtyard bringing the two almost together.

“The unique feature is that the dining room has pure exposed concrete walls, which creates an almost cave like effect,” explained the Architect. The living room opens out to a big paved area, which in turn opens into the garden. The house consists of three levels – the ground floor consists of the living room, pantry, kitchen and a guest room. The next level has the master bedroom, two children’s rooms, a study area and studio. The third floor is the entertainment area with an open pavilion, a rooftop and shrine room.

“Each space is exciting in its own way,” describes Archt Weeraratne, further adding “we have created very interesting views and vistas across the house in different directions. Natural light has been used to enhance the features including in the night-time by playing around with artificial light and textures such as water and sand. There are trees within the courtyard, as well as views of trees and foliage outside the premises.” In order to bring excitement to the senses, stone and cement floors and certain amount of sculpture were part of the design.

Archt Weeraratne explained that a relatively new technology to Sri Lanka, used in the design was exposed concrete walls in one section. He further added, “large glass sliding doors and new approaches to using old standard materials were utilised.” A minimal number of trees were cut and timber was mainly used for doors. There are two areas of timber floors in the house and; “one of the new things that we used was cheap timber for one of the floors and did a stain over it, which made the floor look richer. Deck areas were done in wood, however timber was only used to accent certain features,” explained Archt Weeraratne.

“We had fantastic clients who were really modern in their thinking and very progressive,” stated Archt Philip Weeraratne summing the reason behind the success of creating a truly modern tropical space in the city.

Architectural Firm: PWA Architects

Landscape Architect: PWA Architects

Interior Designer: PWA Architects

Structural Engineer: Nandana Abeysuriya

Project Area (Building Area): 6500 sqft

Site Area: 33 Perches

Project Period: 2004 to 2009

Project Start Date: 2004

Client: Thimal and Shilpa Perera

With the aim of giving a design that was new, pioneering and inventive, Archt Weeraratne created a house that was “full of surprises.”