In conceptualising the design for his bed sitter in Piliyandala, Archt Prasanna Jayalath combined functionality, practicality, energy efficiency, spaciousness and aesthetic value all into one. The cubic building situated in a busy suburb act as a shielding wall to the rest of the 1529 sq ft plot lending the whole atmosphere a sense of privacy and calm far removed from the hustle bustle beyond. The geometric precision of the walls inside the building creates a vast space ushering in this tranquility inside.

By Chamindra Warusawitharane | Photography Sanjay Vithana

The wide timber doors at the entrance open into a gravel courtyard with a reflecting pool at the western end. The pond’s black tiled surface mirrors the earth – coloured walls of the building while light and shadows cast a playful show. The atmosphere provides an ideal setting as both an office space as well as a home. Initially the Architect intended the building to be his office space, however in response to a sudden requirement in living space he designed a flexible space to be transformed into an office later on. The main objective, thereby, was the creation of a comfortable setting for both functions.

The entire living and dining area opens up to the courtyard with a massive wood – framed, glass sliding door which allows ample natural lighting whilst the large windows from the opposing side fulfill the same role. It creates an extension to the living and dining area of the building to the courtyard while the top hung windows along the southern wall allow soothing air to flow into the interior. The result is a spacious, airy interior equipped with minimalistic yet refined furnishing.

The utility core of the bed–sitter consists of the pantry, toilet, and the store room while a more flexible living quarter contains the master bedroom. In order to enhance simplicity and order in spaces is the incorporation of functions with the partitions of the major spaces, one a wardrobe for the master bed room and the other a work top for the pantry creating a tidy, vast space.

The use of interactive spaces has been helpful in terms of extending the boundary for each function as in the integration of living and dining into a unit. Two light tracks recessed in the flat ceiling running the length of the building lights up the entire interior at night while the edge of the master bedroom comprises of a narrow sky light running the width of the room.

The external walls of the structure comprise of two feet thick hollow walls with recessed openings, which offer protection from the harsh weather conditions. The cubic form of the house has been maintained by the use of a well-concealed purling roof – its weight transferred to concrete beams which in turn forms a hidden concrete gutter at the edge. The Architect’s original vision of incorporating the present and the future of the building within a framework of a minimalist and practical approach have thus been incorporated.

In its aesthetic appeal the rustic tones of the building together with the gravel courtyard blend in with the natural greenery of the yard. At dusk its effect is further enhanced as the beams of the track lights and the star-lit sky reflect in the jet black pool complementing the functional design of the building.

Principal Architect: Prasanna Jayalath

Design Team: Prasanna Jayalath & Nayana Jayasekera

Total Area: 1529 sqft

Structural Engineer: Wasantha Chandrathilake