International Conference on Building Resilience 2011
Conference Venue


An arial view of the Kandalama Hotel







Occupying a most unique site in the cultural triangle's heartland the Geoffrey Bawa designed Kandalama Hotel is flanked by two UNESCO world heritage sites - the 1st Century BC Dambulla rock temple and the 5th Century AD Sigiriya rock fortress. The hotel is surrounded by rocky outcrops, lakes and forests, and is home to a variety of indigenous birds and wildlife.  

ImageImageImageGeoffrey Bawa is Sri Lanka's most prolific and influential architect. His work has had tremendous impact upon architecture throughout Asia and is unanimously acclaimed by connoisseurs of architecture worldwide. Highly personal in his approach, evoking the pleasures of the senses that go hand in hand with the climate, landscape, and culture of ancient Ceylon, Bawa brings together an appreciation of the Western humanist tradition in architecture with needs and lifestyles of his own country. Although Bawa came to practice at the age of 38, his buildings over the last 25 or more years are widely acclaimed in Sri Lanka. The intense devotion he brings to composing his architecture in an intimate relationship with nature is witnessed by his attention to landscape and vegetation, the crucial setting for his architecture. His sensitivity to environment is reflected in his careful attention to the sequencing of space, the creation of vistas, courtyards, and walkways, the use of materials and treatment of details.

ImageImageThe architecture is stark and understated, emphasizing the idea that this is not a building to look at, but a building to look from, like a giant belvedere. If they really try, guests can escape onto terra firma, though neither the architect nor the management ever intended that they should do so. They are marooned in a huge ocean liner with decks above and cabins below that has come to rest like Noah's Ark on some faraway mountain side. The only obvious contact with the ground is at entrance level, where the lounge opens towards the main swimming pool, which seems to hang like a shelf on the edge of the cliff. The materials used in the public spaces are cool and hard and work with the large expanses of naked rock to convey an appropriate feeling of austerity that contrasts with the lushness of the encroaching vegetation: one might be inside an evocation of King Kasyapa's Palace. The ample rooms, dwarfed by the generous corridors, function as cells that look out across the tank towards the horizon; even the bathrooms share the view. The Kandalama Hotel offers a unique experience to its guests and stands as the remarkable achievement of a seventy-five-year old architect and his team of youthful assistants

All keynote speeches, parallel sessions, meetings and meals will be held at the hotel. Accommodation includes 162 rooms, each fully air conditioned with private balcony and a spectacular view of the forest or lake. Further details and images can be found at and The venue is 170km from Colombo Airport.


Source: Robson, David. 2002. Geoffrey Bawa: The Complete Works. London: Thames and Hudson