World’s tallest vertical garden in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is certainly not short of many firsts in the world, with many dubious distinctions during the conflict and now some, more respectable ones.
The latest is a brand new apartment complex, Clear Point Residencies, being touted as the tallest vertical garden in the world. It is being built at Rajagiriya at a cost of US$ 55 million (Rs. 6 billion), according to Milroy Perera, Chairman and CEO of Mlroy Perera Associates (Pvt) Ltd.
He told the Business Times in an interview, on the sidelines of the official launch of the apartment held at Waters Edge last week that the initial stage of the construction has begun already. Maga Engineering (Pvt) Ltd is the contractor to build the apartment. The construction work began in June this year and is scheduled to be completed by early 2016.
He said his company was also involved in the construction of the Fairway and Fairmount Residences in Kotte as well as the Sky Gardens which is to be completed in another 6 to 7 months.
Mr. Perera noted that the reason for building apartments is that it is self-financing. “We didn’t have support from banks or finance companies at the beginning to start the project. We invested our own company money – both Milroy Perera Associates and Maga Engineering,” he added. Some clients buy apartments as an investment and some others buy it for their friends who are abroad. The location of the apartment is very convenient which is not very far from the Colombo city, he added.
Mr. Perera emphasized that this is the first time an architect is involved in a development project outside designing the project. “The kind of building that we are producing is not with the intention of making a profit. We are trying to do a completely different building to what has been done before. It is done for the first time in Sri Lanka,” he noted. “Solar Power will be used to produce electricity which is becoming cheaper day-by-day. We tried to combine electricity and hot water, but it is very expensive. Within another 15 years, it will become cheaper and then we would be able to replace them and allow free hot water usage. At the moment we are consuming 180 kilowatts of electricity. We are expecting to reduce the cost of electricity by almost 40 per cent,” said Mr. Perera.
The plants and trees will be maintained by the management. There will be a drip irrigation where the grey water that is the bath water and washing water will be recycled and used for flushing and will mix with rain water harvesting. The cost is brought down so that the intake from the main grid would be cut down by 40 per cent.
“Looking at the economy of the country, the land value and the cost of construction, the price of an apartment will reduce to half of a normal land value. Keeping the price acceptable is a much larger advantage than anything that could be found at the moment,” added Mr. Perera
Planting of trees on the building is not just to preserve them but to prevent sound coming in and excessive light coming in falling on the glasses and creating a hot environment.
“This is the first time we are building something that is right for Sri Lanka,” Mr. Perera noted. A huge amount of money is spent on air conditioning due to heating up of glass doors. Keeping the door slides open brings cross ventilation. Everything is well designed to suit the Sri Lankan environment. That is what makes Clear Point Residencies unique from others, he emphasized.
Maga Engineering (Pvt) Ltd Chairman and Managing Director, M.G. Kularatne told the Business Times that 55 per cent of the shares belong to Maga Engineering (Pvt) Ltd while the remaining is owned by Milroy Perera Associates (Pvt) Ltd. The 200 perch land belongs to Mr. Perera and the construction is undertaken by Maga Engineering by investing into it. The apartment will be managed by the Clear Point Residencies management.
“For the moment more than 50 apartments have been reserved by several leading businessmen in the country,” said Mr. Kularatne.
Clear Point Residencies will be a 46-storied building with 164 three bed-room apartments, four apartments on each floor. Each apartment is 2300 sq. ft. The first three floors from the ground level are allocated for parking. Apartment prices range from Rs. 40 million to Rs. 48 million.