Ena De Silva House

When I was in Sri Lanka earlier this year I had the great pleasure of being part of a team that worked on measuring and recording one of Geoffrey Bawa’s most important early works, the Ena De Silva House. This remarkable building was the result of creative relationship between Ena and Geoffrey that resulted in design of a radical house that is calmly influenced by such diverse strains as 20th Century modernism, Sri Lankin Buddhist courtyards, tropical regionalism and perhaps most surprisingly architecture from the Italian Renaissance. For a more scholarly discussion on the importance of the building I draw your attention to ArchNet.

I was in charge of constructing the 3d Computer model which can be seen in the series of slides above.  The land under the house was sold earlier this year and the surrounds of the house have changed dramatically over the past 40 years since its construction so the open airy design is no long so appropriate for the cluttered and smoggy centre of Colombo. After much debate and discussion it has been formally agreed the building is to be entirely archived, reconstructed and rebuilt at another location down the coast.  It was quite a unique experience to see so many great Sri Lankin architects and institutions put their minds to this complex and somewhat political task. It is a rich and warm building that deserves all the praise it gets.

As it seemed to be the case with Geoffery he reasons for innovation were quite sensible, when discussing this building with Channa Daswatte in 1997, (Channa introduced me to the project) he said “I remember talking to Ena, seeing her surrounded by all the things she liked. All she wanted was brick walls’ and a roof. The plan came about largely because she, and consequently I, wanted a private compound that would not be overlooked by the neighbours.”

5 Replies to “Ena De Silva House”

  1. That 3D model is really rad! Is it available for download? I’m working on a Bawa analysis of the Ena de Silva House for my final project in this semester’s studio, and I am having a lot of trouble finding a good representation of the entire house. Most of what I’ve found has been all interior and courtyard photos, and some plans and sections. This model would greatly help.

  2. hey der ashley..actually i m supposed to make a ppt on the ena de silva house …would be happy if u could be able to help me out with the info you have…u could mail it to me on my email id…

  3. Hi there!

    Great work done here on the analysis of the Ena de Silva House.
    Just wondering would it be possible to send me your valuable info on this house please? I’m a university student currently working on a small analysis project in which one of the houses is this Ena de Silva House.

    Thanks alot

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