Architectural Digest correspondent Chaney Kwak writes that “the incredible work of this group of designers is getting the world’s attention” as Sri Lanka emerges as an upscale travel destination.

He notes that “tropical modernism, heralded by the late Geoffrey Bawa, is an intriguing local evolution of international style, adapted to the hot and humid local climate and referencing various cultural elements.

“His style is exemplified in his family’s Lunuganga estate—but that’s not the only testament to the country’s unique modern and contemporary architecture. Here are a few architectural pilgrimage sites to visit in Sri Lanka.”

Anantara Kalutara

Among the latest of Geoffrey Bawa’s designs to be realized is Anantara Kalutara, whose construction was halted in the 1990s due to civil war and again in 2004 due to a tsunami.


Outside Kandy, the holistic wellness resort Santani takes advantage of its mountainside setting—and cooler temperatures—by shunning air-conditioning altogether. Architect Thisara Thanapathy’s minimalist-chic cabins use natural ventilation to keep the guests cool while reducing its carbon footprint.

Kannangara Studio/Dwelling

Palinda Kannangara has worked on several hospitality projects, but his tour de force is his studio/dwelling just outside Colombo. The complex layers an outer brick wall and an interior concrete wall, with a pond in between. The sun and air filter through the breathing wall; the pathway paved with repurposed materials from old roads and factories frames an adjacent marsh.

Read more here.

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