Fragile Landscapes | 2016 Colombo Art Biennale

The Architects’ Programme, which ran between 3-11 December under the 2016 Colombo Art Biennale’s general theme of ‘Conceiving Space’, had a strong focus on community engagement. To this end, a project was initiated for a new community centre in an informal settlement in the Nawala neighbourhood of Colombo. A two-story building is nestled between a tight rectangular site, on one side, while an open public place is opened, on the other side. The community centre is designed to provide a meeting space for the local community to congregate which is currently missing. The plot of land includes a large bow tree, the sacred tree of Buddhists, whose roots spread across the width of the site. The building acknowledges the presence of the tree, wraps around and gently frames views from its interior and exterior space. A scale model in 1:50 scale was built to communicate the design.