It is widely considered that the post-colonial period is undoubtedly one of the most seminal eras in the trajectory of Sri Lankan architecture. On the other hand, the houses of the island’s elite remain to this day, a subject that has not been sufficiently tackled. Although literature at times suggests certain causal factors of the topic in question and also discusses its implications on wider architectural realm of Sri Lanka, a scientific exploration has so far been eluded. In such a backdrop, this paper attempt to examine the underlying factors of the post-colonial period domestic architectural realm of Ceylon’s elite stratum to ultimately determine the most seminal of all.
The case study methodology employed uses extant literature and empirical work to collect information and places the primary and secondary case studies in question against their respective political, economic and socio-cultural milieu as analysis, while dwelling on phenomenology for interpretation.
The ultimate goal is to illustrate that the newly-formed modern notion of the nation that was inculcated on the ruling elite of newly-independent Ceylon was the most seminal underlying factor that molded the period’s elite domestic architecture that eventually trickled down to the civic architectural realm with the auspice of the same stratum. The architects of the period representing the elite stratum–Geoffrey Bawa being one of the most influential–were instrumental as vessels for propagating this notion via their architectural projects, where the domestic realm became a spring board to elevate the more familiar hybrid style (which is an ensemble of many historic layers of island’s architecture) established by them to the civic level for more laudability and acclaim.