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Kandy Arts Centre

Kandy, Sri Lanka
1 of 10

In 1982 De Silva was commissioned to design a performance centre for the Kandy Arts Association on a site near the Temple of the Tooth that overlooked the Kandy Lake. It was to be used for cultural shows and conferences and would house a main performance space as well as exhibition spaces. She tried to revive her moribund practice, but had difficulty in recruiting experienced staff. The brief requirements changed as the project progressed and Minnette was required to enlarge the hall and add in extra workshops and studios, so that the final result lacked cohesion. The roof was supported on heavy timber trusses but it collapsed under its own weight as the project neared completion and had to be rebuilt to an improved design.

The theatre was conceived as if it were a natural amphitheater in a village setting and was protected by over-sailing roofs which were designed to let in light and encourage ventilation. Unfortunately, the clerestory openings allowed rain intrusion and were later blocked in, leaving the hall dark and stuffy. But the entrance space, a progression of courtyards and pavilions under traditional tiled roofs preceded by a thorana arch, still retains a sense of magic. In this last major project she demonstrated the power of her ideas and the originality of her thinking, but she was let down by her lack of technical knowledge.

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bostjan, September 11th, 2019
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