I managed to visit the great Geoffrey Bawa’s house last year. Very unassuming from the outside, until you notice this sneaky view, with this cheeky bottom peeking out.
Hello! An old Mercedes ’roundie’.
I was very excited to be here, and felt like a super sleuth for even managing to negotiate my way to Number 11.
On this particular day, the facade was being painted, there were guys up ladders, swinging cans of epoxy white paint – that Geoffrey painted all walls and floors with, in order to keep the appearance of clean, reflective surfaces.
Geoffrey clearly liked his cars, as did I. The interesting notion about his style of architecture, is that everything is essentially open. Yes, his cars were parked in the garage. Once inside the garage, the cars were inside the house. Part of the inner sanctum.
I soaked in every word our tour guide said. See? There! Epoxy paint. Shiny.
Courtyards, water features (even in the house) and windows worked hand in hand to keep the temperature low. Corridors and strategically built walls meant doors were not really required in many areas – providing little nooks and crannies ensuring privacy.
Bawa’s use of space. Air flow being paramount.
I realised I was so busy soaking in the stories, and revelling in the architectural genius of this man – that all I came out with were photos of his fish. From his old office at Paradise Road, not even from his house.
The old office is a few streets away from the residence and has been turned into a cafe, bar and gallery now known as Paradise Road Galleries. The café and staff were so infectious, we didn’t want to leave.
(I was actually quite surprised at the number of wonderful Art Galleries in Colombo, mainly owned by English folk with a smart retirement plan. Being an artist in residence in this place, what a gig!)
In summary, brilliant man. The Gallery Café serves Tamarind margaritas – I had two, as they too were brilliant.
And here are the fish.