Situated down Madinagoda Road, Rajagiriya, on a site that abuts a marsh is located a residence designed by Architects Indika and Samanthi Samarasinghe.  A home for a family that loves nature, the architects envisaged a house that overlooks the marsh to absorb its breathtaking beauty whilst ensuring maximum privacy and security. Taking the clients’ other requirements into consideration, the house was designed with most internal spaces opening out to the marsh. A high, exposed granite wall towards the road ensures that privacy is maintained.

By: Thilini Kahandawaarachchi | Photography by: Waruna Gomis

The design embodies the traditional courtyard concept merged with contemporary surrounding spaces. The soothing sounds of flowing water can be heard throughout the house creating an atmosphere that is one with nature. The traditional setting of the courtyard is accentuated with antique columns, copper pipes and gutters. Yet, around the courtyard are ultra modern spaces that include the living area, dining and a visitors’ room which seamlessly blend in with the traditional setting in the middle. This union of the traditional and the modern have been accomplished in a manner that makes one space flow with ease into the next. When the large French windows open, the living, garden, central courtyard and the marsh beyond become one big open space.

Just as the spaces inside the house revolve around the traditional courtyard, almost all areas in the house have a view of the marsh. Ensuring that each room is provided with a view was one of the biggest challenges that the architects faced when designing the house.

On the first floor, are the master bedroom and a walk-in closet that leads the way to the bathroom and an outdoor shower area from which a panoramic view of the marsh can be enjoyed.  On the other side of the same bathroom is the tub that enjoys a bird’s eye view of the central courtyard below. There are also two other bedrooms with a common bathroom and the family living area that has a more private and homely atmosphere. The large windows that open out towards the marsh ensure that none of the spaces need to be air-conditioned though the option is available. The roof terrace with a view of the marsh provides space for a bar and barbecue and also a laundrette and powder room.

Titanium cement floors have been used as the choice of floor finish while large timber doors and windows have been used to bring in ample light and air as well as to create vast open spaces. The massive timber doors have also added to the rich, traditional aura. “Everything in the design has been done consciously and if someone tries to change it, it does not work. That is why we get the client involved so much, so that they do not need to change it later,” says Archt. Indika.  Even the furniture has been carefully chosen to complement the character of the house.

Archt. Indika says, “Samanthi’s designs are more in tune with traditional Sri Lankan architecture, whereas my designs have a modern approach.” Working together they create a distinctive style where the traditional and the contemporary fuse.

When inquired about their approach towards a design, Archt. Indika says, “our language in design changes to address the needs of the client and we get them so involved in our designs that they feel it is not designed by someone else. Our approach to the design is all about the client whilst being inspired by the site.

If you don’t address the elements of the site and client’s needs you are wasting time.”

Archt. Indika’s parting comment on a successful project was that “it’s all about understanding the client, the site, the client’s requirements and the site’s requirements, and then striking a balance and answering all those via design.”

Principle architects: Archts. Indika and Samanthi Samarasinghe

Structural engineer: Ranjith Wijegunasekara

Square area of the Site: 22.5 perches

Square area of the project: 4,850 sqft

Date of Completion: December 2006

Project period: 12 months

Contractor: Siam Construction