0

6

 

1

7

 

1

0

 

 

A

R

C

H

I

T

E

C

T

U

R

E

 

 

G

A

R

D

E

N

S

 

&

 

T

R

A

V

E

L

E

 

 

0

6

 

1

7

 

1

0

 

 

0

6

 

1

7

 

1

0

 

 

0

6

 

1

7

 

1

0

 

 

0

6

 

1

7

 

1

0

 

 

 

 

   


Lunuganga

 
 

Geoffrey Bawa

Lunuganga,

(Bentota, Sri Lanka)

1948-1997

 

       

a tropical Pemberley...


 
 

...Lunuganga!

   

 

Following on Romantic Gardens, we went in  search of a house where nature, garden, and architecture merged into something wondrous, and found Lunuganga (such strange poetry even in the name, which literally means salt river in Sinhalese).

 

Geoffrey Bawa (1919-2003) the famous Anglo-Asian architect was the leading light of the school of Tropical Modernism.  He was born in Sri Lanka and studied law at Cambridge, but tired quickly of actually practicing in Ceylon and returned to London to study architecture at the AA.  In 1948, Bawa acquired Lunuganga, a rubber plantation of 25 acres with, what was then, an unremarkable bungalow.  House and garden then evolved together over some 30 years, the gardens some strange blend of Italian Renaissance and local aesthetics with touches of Modernism.  But also, architecture and landscaping that are responsive to nature, site, the tropical seasons.

 

 

Michael Ondaatje, the writer, author of The English Patient, and also of Sri Lankan heritage, says of Bawa: “But I think that if we wish to see a self-portrait of Geoffrey Bawa we will find it most clearly in his own garden and home in Lunuganga.  Lunuganga is in every way a life work, and the garden there a clock wound around mortality....You discover you wish to be at one location at noon, another at twilight, some when you are young, others that you will appreciate later in life.  It is a complex and also a subtle place, so subtle that there is the famous story about the visiting guest who said, looking over the landscape, 'but Mr. Bawa – wouldn’t this be a lovely place to turn into a garden?'  It was, said Geoffrey Bawa, the best compliment he ever got.” 

 

 

It’s a house where architecture and garden merge and there is always the romanticism of the knowledge that this estate is on that beautiful island which hangs like an earring off the cheek of India.  Bawa added verandas, courtyards, galleries, and loggias to the original house, and reshaped the land, hills, and terraces, and in many ways Lunuganga is essentially a tropical Romantic garden, and is all about a changing sequence of vistas: Cinnamon Hill, the lake, a Buddhist dagoba, terraces, pavilions, lily ponds, a sculpture court –-a 'civilized wilderness.'  All this encompassing an early understanding of sustainability and the use of natural vegetation.  Lunuganga is now run by the Lunuganga Trust as a hotel and the gardens are open to the public. 

 

Stay: Lunuganga

 

Read: Running in the Family, Michael Ondaatje's luminous memoir of growing up in Sri Lanka

 

Explore: Geoffrey Bawa, online

 

Read: Geoffrey Bawa, The Complete Works, David Robson

 

Tags: literature   travel design architecture books  gardens  Romantic   Sri Lanka

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this article on facebook:   

Share:                    

 

Permalink  

 

 

 

     

ARCHIVES ART LITERATURE ARCHITECTURE FILM MUSIC DANCE
PHOTOGRAPHY DESIGN FOOD THEATRE FASHION TRAVEL

 

Subscribe About Us Editorial Policy Privacy Policy Contact Us Unsubscribe  

Press Archives Search  

 

 

©2010 eCognoscente