Contemporary Architecture



  • Geoffrey Manning Bawa
  • Born in 1919
  • In 1938 Geoffrey went to Cambridge to read English and later studied Law in London.
  • worked for some time in a Colombo law firm.
  • Soon tired from the legal profession
  • 1948 he came to a temporary halt in Italy where, seduced by its Renaissance gardens
  • He returned to Ceylon where he bought Lunuganga.
  • Wanted to make Lunuganga an Italian garden but laid bare his lack of technical knowledge
  • 1951 he began a trial apprenticeship with Edwards, Reid and Begg.
  • 1953 he applied to the Architectural Association School in London.
  • Finally qualified as an ARCHITECT in 1957 at the age of 38.


  • Geoffrey Bawa started in the firm of Edwards Reid and Begg.
  • His fellow partners from 1959 to 1967 were Jimmy Nilgiria and Valentine Gunesekera.
  • The Danish architect Ulrik Plesner joined the practice in 1959 and worked as a close collaborator with Bawa until the end of 1966.
  • After 1967 Bawa’s sole partner was Dr. K. Poologasundram who acted as engineer and office manager until the partnership was dissolved in 1989.
  • In 1990 Bawa founded  ‘Geoffrey Bawa Associates’.
  • Channa Daswatte acted as his principal associate from 1993 until 1998.


  • Highly personal in his approach, evoking the pleasures of the senses that go hand in hand with the climate, landscape, and culture of ancient Ceylon(Present day Sri Lanka).
  • Brings together an appreciation of the Western humanist tradition in architecture with needs and lifestyles of his own country.
  • The principal force behind TROPICAL MODERNISM.
  • Work with a sensitivity to site and context.
  • His designs break down the barriers between inside and outside, between interior design and landscape architecture.
  • He reduced buildings to a series of scenographically conceived spaces separated by courtyards and gardens.
  • His ideas are providing a bridge between the past and the future, a mirror in which ordinary people can obtain a clearer image of their own evolving culture


Street Address Dedduwa Lake
Location Bentota,  Sri Lanka
Architect/Planner Geoffrey Bawa
Date 1949-1998
Century 20th
Decade 1990s
Building Types landscape, residential
Building Usage garden, private residence


  • A small rubber plantation consisting of a house and 25 acres of land
  • A low hill planted with rubber and fruit trees and coconut palms with rice fields.
  • Surrounded by the Dedduwa lake.


  • The Italian inspired garden with spectacular views over lakes and tropical jungle together with a simply designed plantation house
  • “A place of continued varied sensations“
  • The creation of one man’s vision which, over 40 years, was nurtured into a reality.
  • It’s a legacy of a great architect.


  • When Bawa came back to Ceylon in 1949, he became almost totally involved  in the pleasures of altering his house and transforming the rubber plantation into a wonderfully beautiful, rolling landscape;  staircased and terraced , squared into paddy fields, on the edge of a long lake with a wild island in its centre. This he so enjoyed that he decided to become an ARCHITECT .
  • A garden is not a static object, it is a moving spectacle, a series of scenographic images that change with the season, the point of view, the time of day, the mood. So Lunuganga has been conceived as a series of separate contained spaces, to be moved through at leisure or to be occupied at certain times of the day.
  • Geoffrey Bawa created this tropical garden idyll. The Italian inspired gardens, with spectacular views over the lake and tropical jungle, has been transformed into a series of outdoor rooms creating a huge feeling of space with vistas that have been carefully chosen to emphasize their beauty with points of architecture and art; from entrances, pavilions, broad walks to a multitude of courtyards and pools.


  • A collection of courtyards, verandahs and loggias create a haven of peace and inspiration.
  • Suites are individual and beautifully decorated to provide a relaxing and memorable environment.


  • Set at the edge of a cinnamon plantation
  • high on the hill overlooking the lake to the south thus giving the privacy.


This is not a garden of colorful flowers, neat borders and gurgling fountains: it is a civilized wilderness, an assemblage of tropical plants of different scale and texture, a composition of green on green, an ever changing play of light and shade, a succession of hidden surprises and sudden vistas, a landscape of memories and ideas.


  • 2 substantial tree grow within house
  • “houses are inseparable from trees”
  • Open-to-sky bathroom with a tree
  • “we have traditionally lived outdoors”
  • Furnished in natural timber, simple white fabric, sturdy wrougt iron lighting fittings.

In 1948, a young man dreamt of making a garden. Today the garden is in its prime but, after the passage of over fifty monsoons, the young man has grown old. As he sits in his wheelchair on the terrace and watches the sun setting across the lake it may be that he reflects on his achievement.

This is a work of art, not of nature: it is the contrivance of a single mind and a hundred pairs of hands working together with nature to produce something that is ‘supernatural’.

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  1. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us with helpful info to work on. You have done an impressive process and our entire community can be thankful to you.


  2. could you help me on how to find the drawings of plans and elevations of this house. as i’m doing a case study about this house.


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