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located in jaffna in sri lanka, architect palinda kannangara completed the ‘oculus’ guest quarters for the neighboring jaffna wind power plant designed to serve as accommodation for visiting engineers and employees. the scheme integrates existing exterior site elements with a newly formed concrete structure that opens out to the lagoon and mud flat landscape. despite the simple structure and its relatively low-budget, the building is a striking and functional addition to the rural location.

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all images © mahesh mendis

 

 

palinda kannangara conceived the guest house to be in close connection to its context– demonstrated in its form and choice in materials. locally-sourced materials including salvaged timber were used for the window shutters, while easily-accessible concrete for the polished cement floors and matte cement for the walls. the upper verandah and balcony crafted with specially designed pressed cement pavers that match the scale of the timber flooring used for the interior floors at the upper level fostering a sense of lightness.

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from the exterior, three slabs make up the building to give a symmetrical character. meanwhile inside, the ground floor living area has been left completely open to allow natural light to flood in and its surfaces are finished in earthy tones to mimic its surroundings. in turn, this ground level features an open living, dining area, kitchen, caretaker’s quarters, a shallow pond and a sculptural spiral staircase that takes focus and leads to the upper floor. the building responds to the tropical sri lankan climate and passively ventilated with options to use air conditioning when necessary.

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‘the shallow pond at the core of the building with varying water depths that catches the reflection of the windmill acts as the eye of the oculus. it is a constant presence against a backdrop of lush vegetation mixed with clear skies.’

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the guest rooms and living room are located on the upper level, each with their own en-suite and installed timber screens that filter light and promote constant ventilation. the layout keeps a similar open-character to the ground floor, with the addition of a balcony which runs along the perimeter offering views of the lush tree canopy.

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project info:

 

 

location: jaffna, sri lanka
site area: 3,600 sqm
ground floor: 2,115 sqft
upper ground floor: 2600 sft
total built area: 4715 sft
architect: palinda kannangara
structural engineer: siril sahabandu
contractor: d&s construction
design phase: 2014
construction phase: sep 2014 – dec 2015

 

 

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