• Geoffrey Bawa: Drawing from the Archives
    Shayari de Silva
    Sean Anderson, Geoffrey Bawa, Channa Daswatte, Jyoti Dhar, Tariq Jazeel, Meghal Perera, Suhanya Raffel, Michael Snelling, and Shirley Surya
    Lars Müller Publishers, 2023
    Geoffrey Bawa Trust

Geoffrey Bawa, Yala Sand Dune Scheme, Elevation, 1968. Ink on paper. Drawing by Nihal Amarasinghe (attributed). Courtesy Geoffrey Bawa Trust

The Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa (1919–2003) fused sensitivity for local context with the technological discoveries and design principles of his time in his work. Gathering essays by scholars and writers across a multitude of disciplines—including architecture, photography, geography, urban design, and art history—this volume spotlights the exceptionally beautiful architectural drawings of Bawa’s practice. Illustrated with over 200 drawings, many of which have never been published, the book delves into the central, multipronged role of the medium in Bawa’s work, from ideation to instruction to post-construction review. Through the context of the archive, the anthology also explores the identity of post-independence Sri Lanka, looking at the interplay between ideas and images, drawings, and buildings, and above all, a sense of place.

Geoffrey Bawa (1919–2003) is regarded as one of the most important and influential Asian architects of the twentieth century. Bawa came to architecture late, qualifying at the age of 38 in 1957, but he soon established himself as Sri Lanka’s most prolific and inventive architect, establishing a canon of prototypes for buildings in a post-independence context. His oeuvre includes hotels, houses, schools and universities, factories, offices, numerous public buildings as well as the new Sri Lankan Parliament. Bawa’s work is characterized by sensitivity to site and context. It is instinctively sustainable. His designs break the barriers between inside and outside, buildings and landscape, and he characteristically links a complex series of spaces—rooms, courtyards, loggias, verandas—with distant vistas in a single scenographic composition. In 2001, Bawa received the special Chairman’s award through the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, becoming only the third architect to be so honored since the award’s inception.

Shayari de Silva is a Sri Lankan architect whose practice focuses on curatorial and editorial projects. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Architectural History Theory and Criticism from Yale University and a MArch degree from the Yale School of Architecture, where she received the Everett V. Meeks Fellowship and Anne C. K. Garland Award, both for Academic Excellence. She joined the Lunuganga Trust as Curator of Art & Archival Collections in 2018, where she manages the Geoffrey Bawa Collections, including the programs around exhibition, publication and conservation. She curated the year-long Bawa 100 Centenary Celebration program which was launched in July 2019. Shayari edited Perspecta 51: Medium, the Yale Architecture Journal (MIT Press, 2018). In 2021 She was one of eight participants in the Canadian Centre for Architecture program, How to: Reward and Punish, a three-week workshop examining Architectural Awards.

Thilini Perera is a multidisciplinary designer from Colombo, Sri Lanka. She currently holds the position of designand communications manager for the Geoffrey Bawa Trust, and is the book designer for Drawing from the Geoffrey Bawa Archives.' She helped conceptualize onsite and online projects including the year-long Bawa100 program and designed the first public exhibition of the Geoffrey Bawa archives, It Is Essential to be There.

Lars Müller Publishers is an internationally active publishing house based in Zürich, Switzerland. It came intobeing in 1983, as a result of the bibliophile passion of designer Lars Müller. The house has made a worldwidename for itself—and not just in specialist fields—with carefully edited and designed publications on architecture, design, photography, contemporary art, and society. The publishing program reflects Lars Müller’s own diverse interests, documenting historical developments and contemporary phenomena by presenting compelling work inthe visual arts and the design of objects and the environment and exploring its social and cultural relevance.

Based in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the Geoffrey Bawa Trust is a nonprofit, public trust with charitable status that was established in 1982 by the late architect with the objectives of furthering the fields of Architecture, the Fine Arts, and Ecological and Environmental Studies. Since the architect’s passing in 2003, the Trust has sustained year-round public programs comprising lectures, educational tours, scholarships, residencies, and exhibitions which engage broader discourse on the arts, architecture, and the environment both in Sri Lanka and overseas.