Although Bawa never did manage to build a hotel in the heart of Colombo, his last hotel was located at the southern edge of the metropolitan area at Wadduwa and was conceived as a vast urban palazzo. The developer was Ajit Wijesekera, a garment manufacturer who was new to the hotel business but hell bent on getting Geoffrey Bawa' as his architect. The site had little to commend it: a few hectares of coconut plantation stuck between a featureless stretch of beach and the coastal railway line in the dreary ribbon of suburban sprawl stretching down the coast from Moratuwa to Kalutara.
Bawa trawled through his memory of unbuilt schemes and resurrected ideas that had first surfaced in his plan of the Fiji Suva Hotel. He also went back to a room mock-up made for the Orion Hotel in which the bed faced the window in front of a partially glazed bathroom. The design was developed and the result is a cool and palatial version of the simple rest-house prototype first used in the Serendib Hotel back in 1967. A lofty porch indicates a main entrance in an enclosing wall that screens the hotel from the railway. Doors swing open to reveal a long axial arcade running across a large garden court, past the hotel lobby and out through the coconut grove towards the sea and the horizon. The sequence of spaces is formal and controlled; the materials highly polished, light in tone and muted in colour; the architecture restrained but monumental - the perfect setting for ceremonies and celebrations.
Source: Robson, David. 2002. Geoffrey Bawa: The Complete Works. London: Thames & Hudson, p. 216-220.
Robson, David. “Genius of the Place: The Buildings and Landscapes of Geoffrey Bawa.” In Modernity and Community: Architecture in the Islamic World, edited by Philippa Baker, 17-48. London: Thames & Hudson, 2001.
Geoffrey Bawa is Sri Lanka's most prolific and influential architect. His work has had tremendous impact upon architecture throughout Asia and is unanimously acclaimed by connoisseurs of architecture worldwide. Highly personal in his approach, evoking the pleasures of the senses that go hand in hand with the climate, landscape, and culture of ancient Ceylon, Bawa brings together an appreciation of the Western humanist tradition in architecture with needs and lifestyles of his own country. Although Bawa came to practice at the age of 38, his buildings over the last 25 or more years are widely acclaimed in Sri Lanka. The intense devotion he brings to composing his architecture in an intimate relationship with nature is witnessed by his attention to landscape and vegetation, the crucial setting for his architecture. His sensitivity to environment is reflected in his careful attention to the sequencing of space, the creation of vistas, courtyards, and walkways, the use of materials and treatment of details.
Source: Khan, Hassan-Uddin. 1995. In Contemporary Asian Architects. Köln: Taschen Books. Robson, David. 2001. The Aga Khan Award for Architecture Chairman's Award.