Colombo-based Damith Premathilake Architects is a multiple award-winning studio in Sri Lanka. In its 15th year, DPA is one of the prominent Sri Lankan architectural firms. In the year 2012 and 2014 DPA has won ‘World Architecture Community Award’ for its fabulous design creations.
Damith Premathilake was adjudged the ‘Young Architect of the Year 2016’. He was one of the ‘10 Outstanding Young Persons of the Year 2016’ in the island nation. Damith’s design creations have grabbed international attention for its magnificence, simplicity, beauty and modern blend with the island’s tropical architecture.
The modern tropical villa on Anderson Road at Nedimala–Dehiwala area in Sri Lanka is located in a context with a slightly sloppy terrain. In spite of being built on a 31 perch block of land fringing the haphazardly developed neighborhood, Damith Premathilake’s design creation is truly a pièce de résistance.
The design draws inspiration from the notion of simplicity climaxing at the zenith of sophisticated complexity, thereby portraying the language of tropical modern villa type of architecture.
Creating simple flowing spaces that are devoid of unnecessary ornamentation, the design is composed of pure geometry in lucid lines. It portrays perfectly the luxurious lifestyle of the occupants.
Damith Premathilake explains, “The home has a classic U-shaped floor plan that optimizes privacy while promoting ample influx of natural daylight and cross ventilation.”
“An entertainment area perched atop the southern wing embodying the public realm is centralized towards the residential fabric, thus buffering all the private activities nucleated at the northern connecting wing,” the architect adds.
The intermediate semi-private zone is flanked by sun-bask gardens, overlooking a serene focal pool. Subtle play of contrasts creates a refreshing and a relaxing habitat for the owners and guests alike.
The simple robust form adhering to a subdued natural colour palette not only creates an overall monastic ambience by its muted whiteness during the day, but also acts as house of fete and entertainment at night.
Ascending from the entrance, a univocal façade of timber seamlessly weaves into its white-washed voluminous interiors flooded with daylight creating a dramatic impact on the outdoor space.
Visual lightness of the architectural elements incorporated in the design amplifies the openness and connection with the ambience. In the upper floor, bedrooms are extended to the passage acting as a balcony or a viewing corridor.
The architect reveals, “Indoor thermal climate is ensured by passive cooling strategies allowing the entire building to be amply ventilated. Excessive heat is shielded by the canopies, while the pool and surrounding foliage further contribute in enhancing the livability of the space.”
Natural cut and polished cement walls in contrary to white walls reduce the enclosure imposed by the U- shaped plan form allowing the trees to finely merge with the ambience is one of the special features of the design creation.
Apparent hardness of the structure is diluted by tropical greenery that extends into a cascading terraced garden illuminated at night merging with the pool. Further enhancing the design language, three canopy levels define its landscape.
Damith explains, “Wild black plum (Dan) and Kaim (Helamba) with a large canopy was incorporated to reach the rubble wall within a period of 6 months forming the highest level. Strawberry Guava (Cheena Pera) with amber trunks forms the second canopy level while ferns form the lowest level of canopy.”
The overall building expresses a contemporary feel by the use of a conventional material palette of concrete, steel and timber. In addition, utilization of rubble walls accents against the muted backdrop. Timber fenestrations featuring a fine amalgamation of solids and voids, add zeal to the otherwise modest design in a pleasing contrast.
White marble flooring adds a touch of lavishness intensifying the lush greenery of the garden beyond. Epitomizing functional aesthetics, steel columns soaring to the upper floor are clad with timber in order to conceal downpipes.
The architect concludes, “In essence, all these elements have succeeded in mirroring simplicity in terms of sophistication and poise through this simple yet elegant design.”
Photographer: Eresh Weerasuriya Image Courtesy: Damith Premathilake Architects