AR­CHI­TECT SPEAK

Known for his de­sign ex­cel­lence in sus­tain­able de­signs, Kandy-based renowned ar­chi­tect Lax­man Ego­dawatta’s ex­per­tise in plan­ning, fea­si­bil­ity and con­struc­tion man­age­ment is leg­endary

The Ideal Home and Garden - - Contents - IM­PRES­SIONS: BENOY SE­BAS­TIAN

Ar­chi­tec­tural im­pres­sions by Ar. Lax­man Ego­dawatta

How did you get into ar­chi­tec­ture?

I had a strong pas­sion for ar­chi­tec­ture from a young age. I was deeply moved by how it made an im­pact on peo­ple’s lives. In­spired by the power of ar­chi­tec­ture to em­power peo­ple, I was mo­ti­vated to pur­sue ar­chi­tec­ture. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing, I started work­ing to­wards build­ing my own prac­tice. I have now more than thirty years of ex­pe­ri­ence.

What kind of projects is your forte?

The meda midula or court­yard found in tra­di­tional Sri Lankan ar­chi­tec­ture had al­ways cap­ti­vated me. Tak­ing on projects that strive to bring the free­dom of the out­doors into the in­doors has al­lowed me to in­cul­cate

an en­vi­ron­men­tal sen­si­bil­ity into mod­ern life­style. This has al­lowed me to de­velop de­signs based on the sym­bio­sis of the built en­vi­ron­ment and na­ture, paving the way to­wards a re­spon­si­ble and sus­tain­able de­sign ethic.

Your cur­rent as­sign­ment?

I am cur­rently work­ing on a novel project in the foothills of the Han­tana moun­tain range. The project in­volves the de­sign­ing of a mod­ern liv­ing space, nes­tled within a struc­ture that draws upon de­sign el­e­ments from me­dieval cas­tles. Work­ing on this project is al­low­ing me to push the con­cep­tual bound­aries of in­te­grat­ing style and func­tion­al­ity.

Where do you de­rive your in­spi­ra­tion from?

I draw in­spi­ra­tion from tra­di­tional Sri Lankan ar­chi­tec­ture, where spa­ces are hu­man cen­tri­cally de­signed to bring peo­ple to­gether. Also, con­tem­po­rary life­styles of peo­ple in Sri Lanka, which are a blend of the mod­ern and tra­di­tional val­ues, are a big in­flu­ence. Re­flect­ing this hy­brid life­style through ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign gives me im­mense sat­is­fac­tion.

What has been your big­gest achieve­ment so far?

Be­ing able to make my clients happy, by turn­ing their vi­sions into re­al­ity is the real achieve­ment for me in all my en­deav­ours. Also, the free­dom to ex­plore, learn, in­no­vate and the flex­i­bil­ity to ex­press through de­sign, makes it in­cred­i­bly sat­is­fy­ing to be an ar­chi­tect.

How would you de­scribe your unique style?

De­sign wise my unique­ness comes from be­ing able to project the

“I draw in­spi­ra­tion from tra­di­tional Sri Lankan ar­chi­tec­ture, where spa­ces are hu­man cen­tri­cally de­signed to bring peo­ple to­gether.”

client’s per­sona and life­style through en­vi­ron­men­tal sen­si­bil­ity found in tra­di­tional ar­chi­tec­ture. This al­lows me to de­sign highly per­son­alised spa­ces, which evolve as ex­ten­sions of the client’s life­style and vi­sion. It is sim­ply not about de­sign­ing houses, but homes.

What are the kinds of chal­lenges you face?

The big­gest chal­lenge in any project is mak­ing the client’s vi­sion a re­al­ity. Often, clients bring di­verse ideas, and it is my task to in­te­grate them and give life to their vi­sion by pro­vid­ing a co­her­ent de­sign. In essence, trans­lat­ing the client’s idea into a tan­gi­ble re­al­ity is the most chal­leng­ing, yet the most re­ward­ing as­pect.

What do you view as your last­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity as an ar­chi­tect?

Ar­chi­tec­ture as a dis­ci­pline has great in­flu­ence on the so­cial, cul­tural and nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments. There­fore, as ar­chi­tects we have tremen­dous power to in­flu­ence our sur­round­ings. This power has to be wielded with re­spon­si­bil­ity as such that it en­hances the well-be­ing of in­di­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies and the so­ci­ety in har­mony with the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. It is only by prac­tic­ing this phi­los­o­phy that we will stand a chance to build a safer planet for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

LAX­MAN EGO­DAWATTA

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