Architect Firm: Palinda Kannangara Architects
Principle Architects: Palinda Kannangara
Structural Engineer: Shiromal Femando
Landscape Design: Varna Shashidhar
Location: Rajagiriya, Sri Lank
Total Floor Area: 504 m2
Completion Date: 2019
Photography: Ganindu Balasuriya
Located in a fairly dense suburb of Colombo, the striated house is a family home facing a marsh, it is surrounded by taller buildings along all three sides. The windows are oriented towards and completely open up to the marsh and the north. The western facade which faces the street is stolid with fins, a facade that gives little away to a rather dense neighborhood with 3+4 floor buildings and higher building beyond. The home is built on a small footprint of 1900 sq ft. A journey from the exterior world through a narrow space, reminiscent of a calming device in the spiritual spaces, from a busy street into a more private realm. The exteriors of the walls, and light falling from above and an unexpected trees and a slender stairwell, dramatically lit, this slender space culminates at the fish pond at the upper most level. The first floor comprises the living spaces, with views, a staircase that leads down. The entire ground floor opens out.
The concrete fins occupy the entire western facade, while the main house faces north & the marsh. The living area is provided with panoramic views. The first floor comprises of the living spaces of the home & guest rooms, while the ground is the dining, kitchen and the services. The domestic helpers space is connected to the garage and back garden with direct access from the parking court.
The second floor is the most intimate comprises of the master bedroom and the children’s bedrooms, family rooms with wide balcony where the living spaces can extend and most of the family can use this space year round. The uppermost level is the lounge pavilion, with a bar. In too treetops with beautiful panoramic views of the wetland marsh, bird life. A biological pond screens the proximal dense buildings, providing the occupants.
The design makes use of its sloping site creating a home which maximises the levels and views of the surrounding area. A Simple material palette, only the fin wall is made of slender concrete that steps following the site boundary. The rest of the building is composed of brick walls promoting creative use of materials in the tropics. The rooftop is an intensive green roof that is totally permeable, made out of locally available crushed late-rite aggregate borelu , a biological pond that is filled with fresh water fish and tall reeds and water lilies screens the neighboring high rises. This further regulates the storm water. The roof top further has the cooling with solar panels, ensuring that most year round does eliminates the need for ac although provision has been made. The trees and gardens become added shading devices to the home, shadow and shade being essential to tropical living. The kitchen garden too has bananas and fruits, with daily herbs like turmeric. This has been useful especially during the difficult pandemic times, when the family has been living and working from their retreat like home.
The home promotes self-reliance and sustainability while maintaining a contemporary approach to tropical architecture and exploration of material usage.