Geoffrey Bawa

  • Within a career that spanned 40 years, Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa came to be regarded as one of the most respected and inspired architects in the world. Bawa excelled in building in a natural environment, creating spaces that blended the outside with the inside. A principle force behind a style of architecture known as ‘tropical modernism’, Bawa carried much of these ideals into the old Madurai Club.

    Geoffrey Bawa was a 20th century Sri Lankan architect who left his footprint as one of the most influential and renowned Asian architects of his era. Belonging to the Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Bawa was the principal driving force behind what is now globally known as tropical modernism.

    Bawa’s style of Tropical Modernism

    Tropical Modernism, which favored white abstract forms and horizontal rooflines, was a very new style at the time that Bawa started working on his designs. 

    He then polished his style more as he began building homes. The typical British ‘bungalow’ was a pavilion on one or two floors, cellular and extrovert surrounded by a large garden plot. 

    So Geoffrey turned towards a style of tropical modernism that suited Sri Lanka. His very first house in this style was for a doctor named A.S.H. de Silva on a steeply sloping site in Galle; and had overhanging pitched roofs that offered the best protection against the tropical sun and rain. The deconstructed elements of this uniquely designed house were reassembled on an exploding pinwheel plan and held together by a single raking roof plane.