Architects Sudesh Nanayakkara and Mangala Nelum Kumari, set forth to design a house in the suburbs amidst a coconut plantation, for a family that sought a living environment with a traditional and contemporary space.

By Chiranthi Rajapakse |  Photography: Eresh Weerasuriya

Archt Nanayakkara explained the concept of a sequential progression, which played an important part in the design of the house. The visitor is gradually introduced to the spaces of the house which are arranged on several levels starting from the road entrance. The spaces progressively open to the other such that the whole scheme is not revealed at once.

The spaces progressively open to the other such that the whole scheme is not revealed at once.

The garage is set in a semi basement from which the visitor ascends a short stairway to the house, at the top of which there is a long corridor, which is open on one side to the garden. The wall of the corridor gives a first impression of textural rawness, which extends to the white washed ceiling, creating a semi rustic approach. This effect has been incorporated at different levels and places, to give each its character.

The corridor stretches towards the main entrance doorway, which partly opens on to a water courtyard. This subtle element provides a sense of orientation to several spaces providing an illusion of greater depth. A floating deck and the solitary tree rising out of the black sheer waters also contributes to the indoors as it reflects and invites the outdoors in and the water further reflects a scissor stairway that leads to tne upper floor. An office room and a guest bedroom are also located at the mezzanine  level. The guest bedroom overlooks and enjoys the greenery around while being isolated from the rest of the house ensuring its privacy.

The open corridor ends in the dining and living spaces and the same décor of cement titanium floors and minimal furnishings continues in the living room where the sliding doors which open out onto the garden create the sense of being in the garden itself.

The furniture has been selected to suit the style of the house while the essence of a traditional Sri Lankan house has been incorporated within in a contemporary manner. Archt Nanayakkara believes that the minimal manipulation of elements in terms of interior and exterior decor can achieve maximum comfort.

“In keeping with the traditional theme, indigenous trees were planted in the garden in an effort to make the garden an extension of the external landscape,” says Archt Nanayakkara.

The upper floor contains three bedrooms and the private living areas for the family.  First are the children’s bedrooms, and an informal living area, which is used as a recreational space by the family.The master bed room is linked with a bridge within the upper floor offering the best of the surrounding, framing different vistas from three sides. This has been designed as a suite, including a lounge within and a full spread bathroom and a terrace area.

Timber louvres have been used for a majority of the upper floor windows, ensuring privacy while maintaining ventilation at the same time. The atmosphere of the upper floor is that of a secluded living area, quite different from lower floor where the emphasis is on openness.

Archt Nanayakkara acknowledges the support of his client who he says, gave him an entirely free hand in making the design decisions throughout the project. The result is a graceful blending of tradition and modernity to create an aesthetically pleasing and comfortable dwelling.

Principal architect: Sudesh Nanayakkara

Project architect: Mangala Nelum Kumari Other Consultants

Structural engineer: Lionel Gunewikrama

Quantity surveyor: Renuka Jayasekara

Square Area of the Site: 18.5 perches

Total Area of the House: 4,300 sqft

Date of Completion: December 2008

Project period: 11 months

Contractor: Lakshman Manawadu   Client: Priyantha & Swini house