House at Anuradhapura by MAA RAA Architects

  • Project year : 2019
  • Area : 6000 sqft
  • Project location: Anuradhapura, Srilanka

City of Anuradhapura considered as the oldest capital in ancient Sri Lanka and even now it is a major city in North Central Province of the country. The region, though generally it has a tropical climate, has a strong seasonal changes where it differs from heavy rainy seasons to driest months. The house is located in a high end residential area with a close proximity to Anuradhapura New Town which has been planned and located around 1km away from the Ancient City.

An old house which had been the adobe of the former generation of the client, exited on the land. The old house had to be demolished for the new construction but some well grown existing trees were preserved throughout the design and construction process which later became well merged with the newly built house and the landscape. The residential building culture of the neighborhood represent several decade of Architectural styles in Sri Lankan houses and the newly built house represent the contemporary era with its modern spaces and simple form.

The view from the road is a jutting out cubic form rested on a grey wall. The oxidized metal entrance gate and the large internal gate have added contrasting earthly colour and an extra texture to the design as well as to the context. The house is composed with strong diverging lines created in several plains both vertically and horizontally, that shaped the building form, internal spaces as well as the landscape.

The ground floor of the house consisted with an entry lobby, spacious living area, long dining area with a pantry, a visitor bed room and parents’ bedroom, a powder room, separate wet kitchen, servant area and all other service facilities. Upper floor has 3 bedrooms including master bed room, a multimedia room, a gym and two large terraces. All bed rooms have separate closet area and an attached bath room. The house is designed in a way to separate public and private functions thus the idea has been achieved spatially by creating several Intimate spaces that are semipublic functionally and visually scattered outdoor areas. The same concept has been implied even in the building from with the two diagonal rectangular masses and the interconnecting bridge. Double height spaces in living and dining areas connects ground floor and upper floor spaces visually while allowing required level of interactions between the dwellers who live in.

Vertical Timber screens on the front façade and, flat iron screens that wrap the upper floor external walls provide required privacy, security while modulate day light in to the interiors and creating dramatic shadows.

Use of cut and polish cement floors enhance the homely ambience in modern spaces and volumes and carefully selected interior fit outs does not harm the soothing atmosphere during day time. The warm lights along with the selected modern lighting fixtures are to create an almost contrasting mood after dawn. The double heighted spaces with full height glass facades would lit up significantly at night but does not harm the privacy of the owners due to the carefully designed solid void proportions and space planning.

Lush gardenscape has been physical and visual extensions of all Ground floor spaces. Strong visual connections in between spaces and landscape invites the outside in. All the bedrooms in Ground floor get their very own private Garden areas and upper floor Bedrooms get distinguish visual experience from the lavish tree canopies which creates dramatic shadows and shades throughout the day. Extended common terraces which are shaded with trees or shadowing pergolas have become the oasis of the dwellers during the sun set.

The habitability of a concrete flat roof has been the mostly raised issue not only during design time by the client but also by the observers after project completion. The resolution hidden within simple and passive design strategies in tropical Architecture such as allowing cross ventilation, responding to solar path, vertical and horizontal strategic space planning and most importantly playing with volumes. The floor to floor height of the ground and upper floor spaces are designed, 2ft or 3 ft more than a typical house design, allowing natural stack effect airflow within the spaces. Although provisions has made for heat insulation methods in the concrete roof, no such requirement has come up to date.

Photographer : Ganidu Balasuriya

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