Architecture/Events/Geoffrey Bawa/Luxury

The Centennial Birthday of Geoffrey Bawa

Aug 08 2019

Fondly referred to as the father of tropical modernism, this 2019, we celebrate the centennial birth anniversary of Sri Lanka’s most prized architect, Geoffrey Bawa. 


Bawa’s influence in the architectural language of the island is still seen in contemporary structures. The idea that the surrounding landscape is part and parcel of a space, and the play of indoors vs outdoors is something so integral to the hot tropical climate seen all across South East Asia. Even on a global scale, with the advent of green technology and sustainable buildings becoming more relevant everywhere, Bawa’s architecture is of paramount importance, as there is much to be learnt from his work. 


ArTravele is proud to share that it is the official local travel partner for this years festivities, organized by the Geoffrey Bawa Trust. There are many events, including special talks by leading architects and artists of our time, specialized Bawa Tours and exhibitions all in store for this year, making for an exciting program! 


ArTravele has curated an exclusive Bawa tour, which not only takes you to some of Bawa’s most iconic buildings and landscapes on the island, but also gives you guided tours by speacially tained guides on Bawa’s work. The interactive sessions that we have arranged are just what every architecture buff could dream of! 


Some of the highlights include a guided tour around Lunuganga, the country home that Bawa chose to live in during his final years. The sweeping views over the undulating lawns from his bedroom are unparalleled and give you a glimpse into the life of this prolific artist. For someone with a penchant for the finer things in life, check out the decorative arts exhibition that documents some intricately designed home ware, that is usually stored away by the Trust for its safe keeping. This exhibit will be sure to give you a hint at the architect’s cultural ties with different nations, and a look into his varied artistic friends hailing from all over the world. In turn, you can notice the influence of these ties with the structures he built. 


A noteworthy mention is the opening of the de Saram House in Colombo 7.  Geoffrey Bawa renovated this home in 1986, influenced by Tuscan architecture, for his client, Druvi de Saram, a classical musician. This house is important as it is home to various artists’ work from the ‘43 Group. The idea is that there is a convergence of all forms of expression, be it music, art, architecture or woven craft.  Wander past the paintings signed to Druvi by George Keyt, the beautiful nude forms by Laki Senanayake and wall hangings by Barbara Sansoni and you realize that this is an art lovers playground! 


ArTravele’s partner hotel, Bentota Beach by Cinnamon is being reopened after renovations this November. This hotel is yet another epic structure that was built by this famous architect and marries local craft, and reverence for the surrounding ocean and views over the topography.  Just let us know you’re interested and we can make sure you get to enjoy a stay at this property that has just been restored to its original glory! 


As the Trust celebrates this extraordinary architect’s 100th birthday, many internationally acclaimed writers, artists and architects such as Amitav Ghosh, Dayanita Singh, Kengo Kuma and even local legends such as Dominic Sansoni and Chandragupta Thenuwara, have been invited to  contribute towards the programme in exciting ways. The idea is to keep the legacy of this architect alive! 


Tour the heritage of an architect whose artistry is known as a key influencer in contemporary art and architecture 100 years after he was born!  Just let us know what you’re interested in learning about the architect and we will curate a specialized tour, just for you! 

(Image courtesy The Lunuganga Trust)

To explore the magnificent work of the influencer of contemporary art and architecture

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