TBT Stop 6: Lunuganga

The estate at Lunuganaga remained Bawa’s muse for all his life soon after he bought it. Awe-struck and in love with the Italian gardens on his travels to Europe he decided to build his own Italian garden when he returned after years of study to be a barrister. He bought a cinnamon and rubber plantation and began transforming it into his dream Italian garden estate. Thus explaining the David in the landscape!


His foray into the field of architecture too began with the Lunuganaga estate. As he began working on transforming the estate, his interest in architecture was piqued and Bawa began his years at the Architectural Association in London once he made up his mind on the field.


The backwaters of the Bentota River make their way to Bawa’s estate and provide a serene active water-front providing much needed creative inspiration in sync with the natural surrounds. The built masses are spread over the estate where Bawa spent his weekends mulling over a design challenge or building prototypes of railings or facades. Each room is equipped with a bell producing a unique sound that could alert Bawa’s helpers of their required assistance and for them to know where exactly Bawa needed them!


In addition art-works dot the estate, Bawa patronized his many artist friends and art forms a central focus in almost all of Bawa’s spaces. The furniture at the estate is again kept to Bawa’s style, solid teak and minimalistic. Chequered black and white flooring, ochre on focus walls, white plastered brick and pitched roofs framed in black are what compile the Lunuganga estate.


All the landscape on the estate are experimental in their specie kind or even the way they are allowed to grow. Bawa would clearly deliberate and manipulate his favorite kind, the frangi-pani into growing as he wanted them to grow, to create his intended effect at large.


The effect of rolling hills is another intention that is expressed in the landscape design.


Bawa’s weekend home served him as a creative playground wherein he polished his ideas to later imbibe into his many projects across the island.



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