titled ‘KITHUL-AMI’, this pavilion by kengo kuma and associates (KKAA) has been designed for the centenary celebration of sri lankan architect geoffrey bawa’s birth. bawa, who was among the most influential asian architects of his generation, was born in 1919 and passed away in 2003. by using a local vine called ‘kithul’, often used in traditional sri lankan craft, kuma and his team sought to achieve the ‘softness’ of bawa’s architecture, while showcasing the individual nature and culture of sri lanka.

kengo kuma kithul
all images and video © kengo kuma and associates



located in bentota, a town on sri lanka’s southwest coast, the pavilion is a hybrid structure of kithul and steel mesh, providing a botanical materiality that is also highly durable. ‘morphologically, we avoided sharpness and rectilinearity as much as possible; instead we searched for an amorphous form in the language of a continuous ribbon,’ explains KKAA. ‘this yielded a gently centralized monument, surrounding and embracing the people inside.’

kengo kuma kithul



the geometry of the ribbon meets a fabrication constraint of a ‘single-curved surface’. using physics-simulation software (shown in the video at the top of this page), this fluid and flexible 3D geometry is reverse-engineered from the pre-determined unrolled surface. see other projects by kengo kuma on designboom here, including japan’s new national stadium in tokyo and his firm’s first project in australia.

kengo kuma kithul

kengo kuma kithul

kengo kuma uses kithul vines for pavilion in sri lanka dedicated to geoffrey bawa



project info:


architect: kengo kuma and associates
project team:
jun shibata, akihiro moriya, hossam elbrrashi
location: bentota, sri lanka
date: 2020
size: 40 sqm / 430 sqf
function: pavilion