Bawa’s Blueprints of Beauty

Bawa’s Blueprints of Beauty

Sri Lanka, Architecture –

Architect GEOFFREY BAWA captured the heart of his idyllic Sri Lanka with breathtaking architectural and landscape designs at his Lunuganga Estate residence


THE LATE GEOFFREY BAWA (1919-2003) was elusive. He rarely gave interviews. He stepped behind the scenes. His creations spoke for him, reflecting his personality and his brilliance as architect and garden designer.


His homeland Sri Lanka is lush with green hills and tea plantations, surrounded by turquoise sea. Buildings rich in heritage dot the cities and countryside. This is Geoffrey Bawa’s homeland. The architect of Burgher descent not only nurtured his country with breathtaking buildings and landscapes, but also inspired the world with unique elements of modernist architecture drawn upon the surrounding beauty.

Lunuganga Estate have elements of Italian Renaissance gardens, English landscaping, Japanese garden art, and the water gardens of ancient Sri Lanka

The Geoffrey Bawa Trust together with Teardrop Hotels have relaunched Bawa’s Iconic Country Estate – Lunuganga – as a nine-bedroom boutique hotel property. 

The house took three months to disassemble and six years to rebuild led by Architect Amila de Mel and conservation specialist Nilan Cooray. Everything from the frangipani tree in the front courtyard to the slabs of river stone remains just as it was in the original house.


The original house, comprised of a former 1930’s plantation bungalow with six private guest suites, is an ode to tropical modernism
Bawa worked tirelessly to transform the house and the gardens from a derelict rubber estate into one of the most beautiful gardens of the 20th Century
Inspired by his travels, Bawa combined elements of Italian Renaissance gardens, English landscaping, Japanese garden art, and the water gardens of ancient Sri Lanka combine
A blend of antique and modern furniture with traditional and contemporary art, a trademark of Bawa’s eclectic signature style
The courtyard. Bawa loved nature and the outdoors

Bawa finally realised his dream of creating his country abode on the rubber plantation – taking half a century to add touches, experimentations and elements to his vision. Nestling near the Indian Ocean and Dedduwa Lake, Lunuganga Country Estate seamlessly fuses architecture, interior design, landscaping and environment into a single holistic entity.

His brick and plaster abode consists of a series of outdoor rooms and work studio, each one connected to the garden and landscape. There is an ordered wildness about the garden. Frangipani trees line the walkway and frame views of the shimmering lake and Katakuliya temple. There are lily ponds and rice plots, statues and huge earthern pots. Bats, birds, toads and other wildlife share your sanctuary. 

When you can travel again: A night at Lunuganga – in either the main house or the Ena de Silva villa – starts at USD265++ for two people sharing, inclusive of breakfast. 

What to eat in Sri Lanka

Fiery pickles
Curries and seafood is a must

Curries including chicken curry (kukul mas), jackfruit curry (polos), beetroot curry, tamarind fish curry (siyambala malu kari), and other seafood curries, hoppers (appam), flour and coconut funnel cakes (pittu), vadai (fritters), samosas, coconut desserts, snacks and drinks; chai – tea is afterall grown all over the country.

Travel company SriLankaInStyle conducts tailormade luxury tours that explore Geoffrey Bawa’s beautiful residences, gardens and buildings; as well as other travel experiences around Sri Lanka.

Story compiled by Carol Kraal. Photographs courtesy of SriLankaInStyle, Teardrop Hotels and The Geoffrey Bawa Trust; Geoffrey Bawa portrait by Dominic Sansoni