Architect in ChargeGihan Muthugala, Nilooshi Eleperuma
Structural EngineerWasantha Kumara
Text description provided by the architects. The simple geometry of the robust form was devised to merge with the developing sub-urban context of Koswatte, Battaramulla. The design attempts efficient and optimum use of land, space and its construction materials; built on a 12 perch block of land bordering a bustling road on two sides; the foot print of the house is contained in under 6 perches; excluding allowance for road and rear space reservations by regulation.
The Living space and its adjacent garden are raised 4 feet from the existing ground level; allowing the eye-level to be above the boundary walls of the road; thus borrowing the visual space of the road and neighboring gardens at a higher elevation; permitting privacy. The living opens up to the garden through frameless glass doors and the entire width of the site is visible from any given spot of the Living space. The design of spacious volumes inside are formed by one large hall space on the first floor at the center of the mass shared by common activities of the home; the dining, pantry and TV lounge are all open to one another; visually and physically borrowing and sharing space with each other and the garden; resulting with free flowing space with the illusion of larger area despite the restricted footprint.
The steel and timber staircase with its lucid lines; rises from ground level to the second floor beside large glass openings to a marsh pond outside. The visual lightness of the stairs amplify the openness of space in the central volume while the connection with the outdoors turns the otherwise mundane task of climbing up and down the stairs a pleasant walk.
The road facing façade to the West responds to solar orientation to cut down heat gain during the day; the façade is composed of blank brick walls, timber louvers and porous exposed brick avoiding the use of glass; incorporating cross ventilation and reducing thermal gain from direct sun. The ground and first floors are buffered from the West with thick foliage and all bedrooms avoid walls to the west and are offered North and South facing windows.
All service pipes, except the storm water down pipes of the mono-pitched roof are concealed within the structure with minimum spatial interruptions allowing for an optimum lucid aesthetic, integration and comfort. The roofs down pipes however are unapologetic for their appearance on the front façade and double up as a feature framing the main entrance.
The second floor is an open tranquil area with increased sky view and cross ventilation as it is unobstructed by neighboring structures that reach only up to first floor. It is in this release of space where the two family bedrooms are perched atop the floors below; with views across the distant vicinity. The design of a timber screen between roof and wall on the top floor bedrooms and the tall inter-floor space on lower levels, allows cross breeze and light to infiltrate all spaces.