(Text as submitted by the Architect)
Holiday Home at Diyathalawa – Architect’s hideout
Located in the upcountry dry zone region of Sri Lanka about 2 kilometers away from the Diyathalawa military training school, is a cozy abode designed by Architect Damith Premathilake. Perched amidst a forest of pine trees on a cliff, the house is an ideal hide out for relaxation and contemplation in the climate which has a temperature of about 20℃ (68℉) throughout the year.
The structure of this cottage is a result of a rethinking process which modified and converted the existing simple caretaker’s hut. The salient feature of the process is the adaptive re-use of timber palette boxes. Careful detailing and effective reuse of timber from used shipping palette boxes were used to construct prominent features, especially in the upper floor of the cottage. The left over strips of timber during the construction process are reused to form a unique timber screen of handmade timber boxes which acts as a feature wall along a passage in the ground floor. The sustainable use of timber from palette boxes is a great value addition to the cottage and creates a distinctive identity.
The use of steel and rubble in compliment to the timber adds to the elegance of this simple abode. The stone flooring further enhances the ambience that is brought in from the surrounding, similar to the hard earth beneath the towering pine trees.
The two storied structure with the steep roof designed to suite the climate, blends in with the setting among the pine trees to give a unique experience. The nature of the forest and the notion of being in the woods is diligently incorporated in the design. The green Zinc Aluminum roof resembling the canopy of a tree and the slender steel columns that portray the nature of a cluster of pine trees has created a very simple yet modest abode.
The location provides breath-taking views of the forest, while the simple two storied structure celebrates the location with the spatial arrangement. The design frames views of the pine forest at different points of the house. Intimate spaces with seating that gives the opportunity to experience the forest in close proximity are carefully incorporated into the layout. The holiday home lights up like a lantern among the dramatic pine forest creating an elegant and cozy ambience at night. With simple yet smart interventions this project is ecofriendly, energy efficient and at the same time built with a small footprint. It is therefore, a holiday home with great interior and architectural qualities which emerges from nature itself.
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