Excerpt: Residence in Dehiwela, designed by Damith Premathilake Architects, provides a similar lifestyle with the Sri Lankan architectural style. The main materials used in the design were glass and steel so that maximum light was brought in. The integration of indoor and outdoor spaces is further experienced on the first floor, with large openings which look out into the landscape as well as the indoor courtyard.
[Text as submitted by architect] The house sits on a sloping terrain in Dehiwala, Sri Lanka. It was designed for a client who after spending many years overseas, wanted a house that would provide a similar lifestyle to that which they enjoyed abroad, while merging it with the Sri Lankan architectural style. Their basic requirement was that there were large openings with wide vistas. As the architect identified that the views out of the site were limited, most views were provided within the building itself.
The arrangement of the house and its spaces made the inside-outside spaces flow into one another, giving the impression of larger spaces. The main materials used in the design were glass and steel so that maximum light was brought in. Although the plot size was small, there was landscaping designed towards the north exterior, so that there would be privacy and views for the upper floors, whereas, on the ground floor, the plants serve as a backdrop for the lobby space and the sitting area.
The access to the house has been receded from the street to create a space, which acts as the transitional area from the road to the house. The glass wall acts as a guiding element, which hides the main entrance, while maintaining the privacy of the user. The layout has been designed in a way that it connects the semi-private with the private spaces, while the steps create a threshold from one space to another.
The glass openings allow a dialogue between the interior and the exterior. This creates a strong indoor-outdoor relationship, which helps in not only framing the landscape but also bringing in natural light and ventilation. The main staircase adjoining the courtyard has an interesting feature where there is a dialogue with two different materials-steel and glass, which interacts with each other. This staircase makes the space spacious because of its transparent nature.
The integration of indoor and outdoor spaces is further experienced on the first floor, with large openings which look out into the landscape as well as the indoor courtyard. Sliding doors have been provided to maintain privacy with no disturbance to the views. The house is designed to utilize both active and passive cooling. The windows that open towards the outer courts bring in ventilation that makes the house cooler. This is then passed through the void which continues to the second floor and opens into a roof terrace garden.
The aluminum louvres wrap around the form and create this perforated skin which filters the light as well as provides privacy to the interior spaces and conceals the services. This layer also prevents direct heat from coming into the spaces which keep the space cool, thus reducing the energy in active cooling.