Famed Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa’s magical Lunuganga pastoral estate a favourite with tourists


The Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, famed as the ‘father of tropical modernism’, still inspires worldwide acclaim 15 years after his death.

The focus of this reverence is the magnificent Lunuganga pastoral estate near Bentota on the south-western littoral, which Bawa lovingly created over 50 years.

And it is here that the heart and soul of Bawa’s vision, the ‘inside-out’ approach to tropical living, can be seen in all its glory.


This ‘architectural self-portrait,’ as novelist Michael Ondaatje describes it, is a favourite destination for tourists, who can rent the house and cottages as they enjoy the rural vistas.

In fact, as the Daily Beast points out, “one of the best made-to-measure ways of exploring Sri Lanka might just be to do a Geoffrey Bawa hopscotch.

“His designs loom across the country, from oceanfront estates to the iconic parliament buildings he designed, in the capital of Colombo, to his final project at the Anantara Kalutra Hotel.”


Writes Shinan Govani: “Unravelling before me in a series of up-down, inside-out vignettes—an erstwhile rubber estate sewn together now by bungalows, turrets, reflecting pools, overhanging roofs, gracious courtyards, mooing cows.

“Toward the end of my visit, we passed yet another tree, underneath, I was dutifully told, lies the final resting place of Geoffrey Bawa. “He is buried here,” the guide said softly.

“Notably, there was no gravestone to mark the spot, which made its own sort of sense: Bawa’s home, in its totality, is his lasting epitaph.”

Read more here.


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