AD presents a cinematic storyboard of Bawa’s biopic set in his personal homes

Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka: The Beginning of a Legend

Geoffrey was first drawn to English landscaped gardens when he went to study law at Cambridge in the 1950s—on his mother’s insistence. He explored Renaissance gardens when he visited Italy, and on his return, rediscovered the tropical garden traditions of Sri Lanka. In 1947, he purchased Lunuganga, a rubber estate near Bentota.

While making a garden to “capture the feeling” of spaces he had experienced in his youth, Geoffrey took the advice of his cousin Georgette Camille, who suggested that he do what he did best “with other peoples’ money”. Geoffrey gave up law and took to architecture. In a career spanning 50 years, he always returned to Lunuganga, an estate whose name evokes the salt river that surrounds it.

Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka: Tales of his Private Life

At the end of a long dirt road, dancing flames on the gateposts greeted visitors who arrived for evening gatherings in the garden. Although Geoffrey enjoyed good company and moved in the same circles as Colombo’s elite, he was a private person. He would gaze across to the little dagoba on the hill of the distant monastery and had a love for Dalmatians, three of whom he named Leopold.

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