LocationDigana, Sri Lanka
Structural EngineerSignet consultants
Quantity SurveyorChula Jeewakaratna
Text description provided by the architects. Tucked away in a remote mountain side off the Digana golf club road is Kurundu house ,a small 4 bedroom retreat for a busy financial consultant and his family. The site is a 132 perch bare plot except for a lonely Kohomba tree.
There is no visible habitation in its immediate environs and one is immediately aware of the openness and loneliness. To add further drama it overlooks a branch of the Victoria reservoir which fills up during the rainy season, and in the far distance is the Hunnsagiriya mountains.
The approach from the main road is a rough track winding through small village huts, vegetable gardens and large Mara trees and finally up a steep rocky lane that lands at the site.
This is when one is confronted for the first time with the breathtaking view.
With a stage like this, at the outset we thought we should have a grand central verandah space that can somehow capture the explosive openness of this place while focusing on the distance views beyond, this would be the focal element from where one could access the rest of the spaces such as bed rooms and utility spaces.
The design was conceived as two staggered 2 storey rectangles with the verandah in the center. Further taking advantage of the slope this space was made split level, the top tier gives access to bed rooms on either side while the bottom tier accesses the a living room, kitchen and staff areas.
Apart from acting as the central circulatory space it is also informal sitting areas, the bottom tier is more open and next to a lawn and swimming pool with 180 degree views, this is where one would hang out most days, the top tier is different in mood and feel, the filtered light through the cinnamon sticks adding to its ambiance.
By using the level difference to bury half the structure, we managed to presents a nonchalant single story façade to the road. The façade is clad in cinnamon sticks which conceals a passage that leads to bed rooms as well as the entrance verandah.
A narrow wedge shaped cutout in the cinnamon stick façade gives access to the double height verandah. There is no front door.
The lower verandah gives to a third living space which is a closable glazed living room which can be air conditioned. This is a place of refuge when the lower verandah is not usable during thunderstorms or during the hot days of the year. The two solid blocks are treated simply, with lean to roofs draining to a common concrete slab that gathers rain water.The walls are unplastered ,painted brick work,and floors are cut cement in the rooms and rubble paved in the verandah’s. The spaces immediately in front and back of the building is grassed, to give foreground to the building but the rest of the land will be left to go wild.