One of Asia’s most prominent 20th century architects, Geoffrey Bawa is one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic and beloved figures, internationally renowned for his stunning designs and his development of the architectural concept ‘tropical modernism’ – a concept which earned him the title of ‘the father of Asian architecture. Whilst Bawa’s legacy can be explored throughout the island – many of his structures are now hotels, such as Heritance Kandalama, and travellers can explore his beautiful country home and gardens (Lunuganga) – he spent much of his life living and working in Colombo. This guided tour takes you from his place of residence to his studio, giving you a detailed insight into Bawa’s city life. Your host, a photographer who has an in-depth knowledge of Bawa, will also touch upon the work of other leading figures in arts at this time, including the founder of Barefoot, Sri Lanka’s first female architect and batik-specialist Ena de Silva.
Begin the walk at Number 11, Bawa’s townhouse, where your host will share absorbing stories about his time spent here. You will then journey to the spectacular Gallery Café, which was originally designed and built by Bawa as his studio. Its sleek, dark interiors and open-air central courtyard set it apart as one of the most alluring buildings in Colombo – and you can be assured that the food and atmosphere is wonderful if you are contemplating grabbing dinner there. After a drink and a look through some of his original designs, head to the Seema Malaka Temple, a Buddhist temple redesigned and restored by Bawa in the 1970s which appears to float unsupported on Beira Lake. Complete the experience by heading to Barefoot to see an exhibition, have a spot of lunch or do some shopping for gifts and souvenirs.