Linear House

Linear House

Palinda Kannangara Architects
Battaramulla, Sri Lanka
Project Year
Private Houses
Sebastian Posingis

Linear House

Palinda Kannangara Architects as Architects

An economical home for a young couple.

Located in the busy Battarmulla area close to the Sri Lankan Parliament. This is a slender home on less than 10 perches (1 perch =272 sqft)built for about8 Million SLR ($USD 57,000) built area (2258).Designed on a narrow plot gifted to the couple,within the larger family home. The entrance forecourt is paved (motor and entertainment/multifunctional) with the lone sapodilla tree as the focus. The house has been designed to provide a feeling of being connected to the tropics, the skies, the water, and the trees despite being in a very busy and dense neighborhood on a tight plot (Anarrow width of 25’). The feeling of being within a garden drama begins from the entry gate, to paved motor court around the expositing sapodilla trees, the lily pond and the walk across the aquascapeto the main door. The house aims to provide a rich experiential qualities despite narrow space, and a small construction budget and very objects/ few materials owned by the couple.

The designed was meant to provide the couple with the feeling of living within a garden.A series of courtyards dot the house blurring the boundaries between the inside and the outside and extending a sense of space within this narrow home. The beauty and serenity of the pond, the trees can be perceived throughout the house. The inner living room space can totally open out into the exterior pond and garden, through large sliding doors. Entertainment can always extend into the motor court, under trees and around the pond. A sense of heightened tactility, walking on rough concrete over a mirror of water, reaching a smooth polished cement floor.

The ground level comprises of a living dining space intersected by a courtyard with syzingium trees (A small prayer niche faces this courtyard), a kitchen and a guest bedroom. The first floor comprises of a TV lounge, masterbedroom and two additional bedrooms. Slender wood bridges seemingly cut through the tree tops and lead to the rooms. The masterbedroom has a double screen with an exterior balcony that overlooks the sapodilla tree. The timber screen keeps provides filtered light and shade keeping the interiors cool.

The uppermost level comprises of roof gardens that not only capture storm water, but also create a cooler micro climate within the house. It also acts as outdoor garden space for the couple to enjoy quiet dinnersand to entertain.

The house is linear,the deign aims at creating a continuous indoor and outdoor connection and provide a feeling of unending sense of space and greenery. The southern wall of the home has timber screens that cuts harsh summer sun and provides shadows and the southwestern breeze is cooled as it wafts over the pond and enters the home. The timber screens that have been inspired by the lattices of narrow urban street fronting homes of Sri Lanka. Shadows are important in the tropics.  Great varieties of light and shade conditions are created within the houses due to the fenestrations and the material palette and design. Providing the occupants an experience of the seasons, both summer and the monsoons. The full length timber doors can be moved to include the outside into the living space.

Materials of Construction:

Locally available materials, in keeping with the very small construction budget, a including a combination of salvaged and custom designed materials.A simple material palette has been used comprising of locally found rubble stone as paving, crushed gravel for the courtyards(retaining permeability and allowing storm water to percolate into the earth), the indoor flooring comprises of polished cut cement.

The walls are of brick masonry. Doors and windows (salvaged jack timber) were crafted to create slender sections to avoid disturbing the views to the waterscape. A simple but tactile material palette has been adopted and the colours(monsoonal) and textures of the architecture blend into the environment of the sapodilla trees, monsoonal quality. While the living dining have been keep cement finished to blend with the gardens, the bedrooms have been painted white to create a lively contrast.

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