Inspiring architecture has been a part of the Sri Lankan landscape for centuries. From the ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura, the fortress at Sigiriya, to Galle Fort, the island has is bursting at the seams with a variety of architecture.

In the last few decades, contemporary Sri Lankan architecture has really come into its own. From Geoffrey Bawa’s Tropical Modernism to SOM’s futuristic plans for Colombo’s upcoming port city, the design reflects a distinct aesthetic that is rooted on the island.

A Sri Lankan journey is incomplete without paying tribute to Geoffrey Manning Bawa, the world-famous lawyer turned architect, who redefined the island’s skyline. What better place to begin than at Lunuganga, Bawa’s personal family estate, which he honed to perfection over 40 years, with an eye for detail?

Lunuganga, an erstwhile rubber plantation, became his blank canvas and his ultimate inspiration. We highly recommend a visit to his stunning home, to truly understand Bawa’s spirit.

Bawa was an exponent of the Modernist school of architecture, but one that was adapted to Sri Lanka’s climate and locally sourced materials.

Simple yet elegant décor, combined with touches of Sri Lanka’s old manor homes, distinguish his style. There are several Bawa buildings scattered around Galle and Colombo, but perhaps his most significant contribution to Sri Lanka is the Parliament Building and the buildings at the University of Ruhuna.

Bawa was known for his striking staircases. At the Lighthouse Hotel in Galle, he designed a stunning spiral stairway with Laki Senanayake, decorated with metal sculptures of ancient warriors.

Even after he shut down his firm, Bawa designed several villas and hotels, such as the Anantara Kalutara Resort and the Kandalama Hotel, where we can arrange for you to stay.

In fact, one often sees the best of Sri Lanka’s architecture in its sublime resorts. Beyond Bawa, properties like Santani, outside of Kandy, reflect modern minimalist chic by architects like Thisara Thanapathy.

More recently, Sri Lanka has become a playground for architect’s from across the world. From Tadao Ando to Moshe Safdie to Gensler, some of the world’s finest architects are flocking to Sri Lanka to add their touch to the landscape.

From stays in renown villas to expert-led tours of some of Sri Lanka’s best known landmarks, soak up the island’s architectural aesthetic with Encounters Asia.