The first Geoffrey Bawa Awards for Excellence in Architecture took place in 2007 with the award jointly won by Shyamika de Silva (Nalin Indrasena House) and Lalyn Collure (Boulder Garden nature resort) with the runners up being Palinda Kannangara ( Holiday Bungalow in Ginigathhena ) and Nela de Zoysa (showroom and offices for Suzuki Maruti ).
Commenting on the award at the time, one of the judges, Professor Seneka Bandaranayake said, “The most striking thing about the entries for the Geoffrey Bawa Award was the originality, distinctiveness and generally high quality of the design that they collectively displayed. We saw in the entries a varied and multifaceted Sri Lankan tradition that surely occupies a significant place in contemporary Asian architecture. The Bawa Award should set marks and standards that will help to maintain and configure this creative dynamic.”
The aim of this national award scheme to recognize and reward significant examples of contemporary Sri Lankan architecture was indeed fulfilled in the first cycle. The aim of the scheme is both to foster the production of good architecture and to encourage its wider appreciation in the community.
Applications are now open for the 2010 /2011 award and forms are available at the offices of the Geoffrey Bawa Trust from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on week days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Documents should be submitted by November 15, 2010. Once again the award will be Rs. one million. The shortlist of 10 will be announced in May 2011. The winner will be announced at a gala event held on July 23, 2011 – Geoffrey Bawa’s 92rd birth anniversary, where renowned author Michael Ondaatje will make the keynote address.
The judges for the 2010/2011 cycle of awards will be Suhanya Raffel (Trustee of the Geoffrey Bawa Trust and Deputy Director Curatorial and Collection Development at the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, Australia), Archt. Kerry Hill, Singapore, Archt. Jayantha Perera (Immediate Past President and nominee of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects) and Ajita de Costa (textile technologist, industrialist and heritage conservationist).
The Geoffrey Bawa Awards scheme has been consciously modelled on the scheme which is run by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Geneva. That is generally acknowledged to have had a very marked effect on architecture in developing countries since it was inaugurated by The Aga Khan in 1977 and has now completed eleven of its three-year cycles. The Trust also acknowledges the importance of the honour, that was bestowed upon Geoffrey Bawa when he received The Aga Khan’s Special Award for a Lifetime’s Achievement in Architecture in 2001.