exposed cement bricks form the pagoda house by chinthaka wickramage associates

exposed cement bricks form the pagoda house by chinthaka wickramage associates

exposed concrete brick and unfinished interiors characterize this four-bedroom residential property by sri-lanka based studio chinthaka wickramage associates. located in the suburb of nugegoda, the brief was to design a house for a couple who reluctantly moved closer to the capital of colombo in order to access the best possible education facilities for their two children.

images courtesy of chintaka wickramage associates



set on a trapezium-shaped piece of land, the project proved difficult to accommodate the request of the client who requested a four-bedroom house with gardens in the relatively small plot. the house occupies a 202-square-meter sloping site which presented a challenge to the architects who wanted to save as much land as possible for outdoor spaces.



a terraced front garden and a single level rear garden runs the length of the house. taking further cues from the plot, triangular-shaped cantilevered windows were introduced to the road side with openable louvres, giving a certain irregular ‘informal’ quality to the front facade. the entrance to the residence is positioned underneath a cantilevered staircase which navigates the two-story dwelling.



the use of a mono-pitched single sloping roof was designed to follow the contours of the site, conceived to give simplicity to an otherwise stepped front facade. meanwhile, the employment of double-height space is intended to visually and physically link the two levels.



the architects have used a reinforced concrete skeletal framework with exposed ‘fair-faced’ cement brick ‘infill’ walls and half-inch recessed grooves. it gives the property a monochromatic appearance, offset by the interior use of timber deck for the lobby and catwalk floor.



‘the house attempts at design of cross ventilation and naturally lit space in a residential context and the maximisation of usable area for added value,’ says principal designer chinthaka wickramage. ‘for the kind of ‘rawness’ which was envisioned the principals of detail management became a challenge: a simple and effective way of maintaining construction economy.’



‘pagoda house is also about how specificity of place can guide the processes and subsequent ‘form’ of relevant design,’ he adds. ‘the house is intended to age with time and to receive the colour and life of dwelling within, its architecture hidden, for the most part, by the foliage of its very first room, the front garden.’



‘in summary pagoda house is a project laced with details testing rawness, un-refinement and the unfinished,’ wickramage summarises. ‘lessons learned from the project widened and reinforced our growing understanding of how materials give texture and age gracefully in monsoon asia.’



‘finally, with all the requirements of natural ventilation, functionality and construction economy in mind the house was designed to be predominantly self-maintaining and aesthetically elegant as it weathered the grace of tropical humidity.’


project info


project title: cement brick house, pagoda, nugegoda
project address: no: 15, first lane, pagoda road, nugegoda
architects: chinthaka wickramage associates
principle designer: chinthaka wickramage
ranjith wijegunasekara: structural engineer
sunanda gnanasiri: quantity surveyor
design date: may 2017
construction start date: july 2017
construction end: july 2018
site area: 202.41 square meters
project area: 223.36 square meters
number of floors/ number of rooms: two floors, four bed rooms
cost of project: USD $ 89,285/-
actual cost per sq. ft: USD $ 37/-

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