ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday October 28, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 22

Legacy of a master

Among the most influential architects in Southeast Asia in the latter half of the 20th century, Geoffrey Bawa was the principal force behind what is today known globally as ‘tropical modernism’. A new book, written by David Robson, ‘Beyond Bawa: Modern Masterworks of Monsoon Asia’ explores Bawa’s life and career and takes a look at his continuing legacy of influence through the works of contemporary architects across South and South-east Asia.

“Bawa has had a huge impact on Sri Lankan society and culture,” Robson said, speaking at a news briefing at the Barefoot Gallery. “His works have changed the way we see or look at certain aspects or architectural designs in this country. This book tells the history of his work and moreover demonstrates to the audience its value and importance.”

The book is a sequel to the previous monograph ‘Bawa the Complete Works’ published in 2002 and presents a cross-section of modern tropical architecture of the past decade. Featuring new material on Bawa as well as work by a younger generation of Asian architects, the illustrations include hitherto unpublished archival photographs alongside new commissioned pictures by renowned photographer Richard Powers.

One section of the book has the work of Lankan designers such as Ena de Silva, Barbara Sansoni and Shanth Fernando. The book also demonstrates how Bawa’s designs have influenced contemporary resort and landscape design throughout Monsoon Asia and around the world.

David Robson was a friend of Geoffrey Bawa for thirty years and combines a deep admiration for his work with a passion for all things Sri Lankan. Robson was a professor of Architecture at the University of Brighton and is now a visiting professor in the National University of Singapore and the Technical University of Brono.

‘Beyond Bawa: Modern Masterworks of Monsoon Asia’, will be launched on November 3. The book is currently available at a pre-publication price of Rs. 6000.

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