Geoffrey Bawa on spotlight: Country estate of Sri Lanka’s most celebrated architect relaunched

TD Editor

Teardrop Hotels has announced partnership with The Geoffrey Bawa Trust to revitalise and relaunch Geoffrey Bawa’s Lunuganga estate on the Southwest coast of Sri Lanka. The nine-bedroom property includes Bawa’s original home with its original charms and quirkiness, in addition to a three-bed house he designed and built in Colombo which has been painstakingly reconstructed brick by brick in the grounds of the estate.

Lunuganga forms an important part of Sri Lanka’s cultural and design heritage. Acquired by famed architect Geoffrey Bawa in 1947 as one of his first projects, Bawa worked tirelessly to transform the house and the gardens from a derelict rubber estate into one of the most beautiful pleasure gardens of the 20th century. Elements of Italian Renaissance gardens, English landscaping, Japanese garden art and the water gardens of ancient Sri Lanka are all blended to create Bawa’s most extravagant creation, making it a mecca for those interested in landscape design and architectural history.

Geoffrey Bawa estate

Bawa’s house itself comprises a former 1930’s plantation bungalow, with six private guest suites located around the estate and is an ode to ‘tropical modernism’ – a blend of antique and modern furniture with traditional and contemporary art-a trademark of Bawa’s eclectic signature style. The Bawa Trust and Teardrop Hotels have made sure to changes to the house to an absolute minimum, allowing guests to enjoy the space exactly as Bawa intended his guests to experience it.

Lunuganga now also includes the three-bedroom house of Bawa’s dear friend – Ena de Silva. A batik artist based in Colombo Ena de Silva and her husband Osmund commissioned Bawa to design their home in 1962- a pivotal project in his life’s work and the first time he executed the joining of radically modern design with traditional Sri Lankan elements.

In 2009, Ena sold the house to The Bawa Trust, which then moved the property brick by brick from its location in Colombo to Lunuganga. The house took three months to disassemble and six years to rebuild, led by architect Amila de Mel and conservation specialist Nilan Cooray. Everything from the frangipani tree in the front courtyard to the slabs of river stone remains just as it was in the original house.

A representative of The Geoffrey Bawa Trust said: “Teardrop will bring in their successful style of boutique hotel management to the property and offer their luxury hotel service to guests who are keen to experience the unique country estate living style envisioned by Geoffrey Bawa.”

Managing director of Teardrop Hotels, Henry Fitch said: “The spectacular location and stunning gardens are a masterclass in landscape design. Lunuganga is one of the most treasured properties in Sri Lanka and Teardrop Hotels is thrilled to have been entrusted with its management.”

Sri Lanka currently is getting ready to host international travellers from August. Read our earlier story here

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