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Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka: How the architect revamped the small town of Bentota

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Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka: How the architect revamped the small town of Bentota

From gorgeous homes, hotels to even public buildings, Bawa helped change the quiet city into one that is today on the itinerary of any design-lover


Geoffrey Bawa’s contributions to Bentota include a shopping village, town square and railway station along with hotels. All photos courtesy Ashish Shah

Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka: A Home Between River and Sea

Bentota, the crossing at the Bentara River, has long had a rest house overlooking the spit of land between river and sea. It has always been a favourite destination for Colombo denizens wanting a break on the south west coast. Geoffrey followed his brother, Bevis, who had settled in nearby Kalawila, on a piece of land he had received from his mother, on the north side of the river. It had been a ‘brief’ for one of the cases their illustrious lawyer father had appeared for. Geoffrey would find his own land on the south side at Dedduwa Lake. In the late 1960s, Geoffrey was called upon to design a tourist complex on the south side of the river, overlooking one of the best beaches. There he created a shopping village, town square and railway station along with two of the four hotels planned—the iconic Bentota Beach and the Serendib, now the Avani.

Bentota has always been a favourite destination for Colombo denizens 

Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka: An Inspiration for Hotel Design

Geoffrey’s architectural style during the 1960s became a critical model for hotel design in tropical climates. He took pleasure in making buildings that would merge landscape with interiors. The Serendib hotel was built to replace the old Bentota Rest House. Its location had been usurped by the much grander Bentota Beach Hotel, which was, at the time, unaffordable for domestic tourists. The Serendib would fill that need for many years. He originally planned it with sand floors, but later replaced these with terracotta tiles. The simply planned rooms had a private courtyard and a little veranda that opened up to vast lawns that sloped down to the magnificent Bentota beach.


Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka: Living the Village Life

The pleasures of Bentota beach and peaceful village life in the hinterland attracted many expatriates to come and live in Sri Lanka for extended periods of time. The house at No 87 Galle Road comprises two 17th-century houses, one remodelled and the other moved across the road to make up a residence for Lydia Gunasekera, an Italian artist who’d moved to the island. The owner added a pool to the property and, on Geoffrey’s advice, hid it among lush tropical verdure.

read more: https://www.architecturaldigest.in/content/geoffrey-bawa-sri-lanka-bawa-revamped-small-town-bentota/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ADIndia-SocialShareConversions&fbclid=IwAR364RtRhMmsk_uE5f_41hnHUqrp44MoUiiLmVVaNKlnWQPN3DHVQD3Z_zk#s-cust0

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