Geoffrey Bawa, the architect of Sri Lanka

By  |

EDITOR’S NOTE: This text, penned by architect Giampiero Peia and accompanied by Giovanna Silva’s photos, is a tribute to the work of the Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. These words complement the project A Piece of Sky presented by the Sri Lanka pavilion in the context of the XXII Triennale di Milano, Broken Nature.

© Giovanna Silva

The Sri Lanka pavilion at the Triennale di Milano, built one hundred years since Bawa’s birth, could not fail to pay tribute to the Asian master of modern tropical design.  Bawa’s architecture––from hotels to private villas and public institutions, and more––is so closely connected with the identity of the country and its tight relationship with the landscape, it is directly connected to the Sri Lanka pavilion and to the Broken Nature exhibition, with a particular reference to the principles of restorative design.
The figure of the master, which is slowly being abandoned in Western culture, remains an important guide role in Asia and in particular for the new generations of Sri Lanka creatives. Bawa saw no difference between vernacular, reinterpretation of tradition, and research.  He did not recognize formalism, monumentalism, or modernism. He only concerned himself with an elegantly sensitive adaptation to the context, using only a few constructive elements wisely matched to the climatic conditions of the country.

© Giovanna Silva

Giovanna Silva, an intuitive and incisive Italian photographer, won a grant from the Dan Graham Foundation, and her photos celebrate and interpret his exquisite point of view from different angles––from the back of the house of a hotel to the shadows in a courtyard, and from a busy road in New Colombo to a detail of a piece of furniture. Time and tropical climate have transformed, sometimes for the better, his architecture.

Giampiero Peia
After finishing university at the Politecnico in Milan, Giampiero Peia worked as the assistant of Luca Meda, designing components and industrial products for office furniture. After seven years of experience with Ignazio Gardella he started his own practice in Milan.
From 2003 to 2006 he was partner of Piero Lissoni in the studio Lissoni Peia Associati. Since 2006 he is partner with Nasazzi Marta of Peia Associates Srl. He is a guest lecturer at many Universities.

Further Reading:

Kiribati: An Island World Vanishes into the Ocean

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a selection of drawings from the book Kiribati: An Island World Vanishes into…

Read More

Bombing Parco Sempione

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bombing Parco Sempione is a speculative design project developed within the Urbanism and Urban…

Read More

Digital Earth

EDITOR’S NOTE: Digital Earth offers a six-month fellowship for fifteen artists and designers based in…

Read More

The Sound of Disappearance

Soundscapes, the combined acoustic signals that reach our ears from whatever source, hold inexplicable powers…

Read More