“I’m Always Trying to be Open and trying to find the answer from the Context and trying to give a different experiential quality to the space”. – Architect Palinda Kannangara
Monk of a Man
The Soft-spoken Sri Lankan Architect Palinda Kannangara, who believes in the relationship between nature and the building, the one who is unassuming and inspiring with his own individual building philosophy and connects with simple style. He mentions Geoffrey Bawa as an influence. Indeed, he is one of the new guardians in the Architecture of Sri Lanka.
Palinda Kannangara was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1970. Educated at Ananda College, Colombo, he entered the University of Colombo and graduated Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Physics in the year 1996. In 1994, Palinda Kannangara joined the study course conducted by the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects. During his undergraduate years, he worked under several leading architects such as Ar. K. Ganeshan, Ar. Vinod Jayasinghe and Ar. Anura Ratnavibushana. The Studio Dwelling founded in 2004 is where Sri Lankan Architect Palinda Kannangara lives and works. Actually it provides a base for the practice and home for the architects in Colombo. The firm Palinda Kannangara Architects has been the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Golden Emerging Architect Award, Sri Lanka instituted by A+D and CERA, and the Emerging Architect Asia Award by Architecture Asia (2014, 2016). Palinda Kannangara Architects have been on India’s AD50 list of best practices in the subcontinent for three consecutive years (2015, 2016, and 2017). More recently the firm has been awarded 1st prize in 2A Awards Asia and Merit Award Azure Canada, First Prize residential category in Geoffrey Bawa Awards. He got inspiration from Buddhism and he appreciates the inherent beauty in minimalism. Minimalism is not a new `thing in Sri Lankan Architecture. He was awarded for the 2018 RIBA International Prize for the dwelling which symbolizes the design excellence.
It’s coming from inside, It’s me, What I’m doing is What I like to do and I’m not doing things that I don’t like or agree with, This is my way of living, says Architect Palinda Kannangara.
“Simplicity is rooted in our architecture from the past, I’m trying not to make it complicated, so it’s basically simplifying things and enjoying it when it’s most simplified.” – Architect Palinda Kannangara
An approach to design?
Palinda Kannanagara says, “My design concept is always a feeling. I move from the digital to analog and vice versa, and I work a lot with models. I draw influences from memories of traveling, all of which seep into my architecture. I can take three years to develop a project but I will always use the same palette. I don’t waste time specifying new taps, downlighters, and so on – for each project I prefer to carry on refining and defining my palette.
“It is important that you own your style, rather than let the style own you.”
– Architect Palinda Kannanagara.
He keeps changing and evolving his material palette with each project. By using less, he adds value to the design scheme. He always works with locally available materials, resources, and people, and he works mostly on-site. He loves experimenting with light, materials, and shapes to translate clients’ aspirations into reality while making every effort to surpass expectations. Especially proficient in the interplay of simple, pure forms that create vivid, subtle, spatial qualities, Palinda Kannangara appreciates the inherent beauty in minimalism. Mostly his work as transforming ordinary spaces into beautiful, aesthetically recreated spaces. His practice accepts the realities of the scenery without hesitating to challenge it, respects tradition without being restricted by it, and exploits technology without letting it incarcerate feelings.
Here’s a peek into some of his projects:
Most of his designs are eco-friendly and creative use of nature, inspired by contemporary and tropical architecture to create practical, minimalist designs describing architecture as the never-ending story of learning.