Tata Housing – Colombo Square

June 20, 2018

In the heart of Sri Lanka’s capital city, Colombo, Michael Graves Architecture & Design is spearheading the design of what will be the preeminent sustainable landmark development in the city. This 4,000,000 square foot mixed-use development will be spectacularly sited in a prime area of the city. Located immediately adjacent to the oceanfront promenade known as the Galle Face on one side, and the incredible Beira Lake on the other, the project affords unparalleled views of both Biera Lake and the Indian ocean. Moreover, unit layouts and building orientation have been organized to provide both maximum privacy and maximum views, while also taking into consideration prevailing climate patterns to allow for natural ventilation and daylighting as part of the sustainability and design approach. Colombo is both the political and commercial capital of Sri Lanka and is poised for continued growth with business investment in finance, IT, and tourism all driving up demand for high-end residential, commercial, hospitality, and retail space in this city of 5.6 million. The project has been phased to allow for eventual completion of five towers (three residential, one commercial, and one hospitality) as well as a low-rise “jewel building” to mediate between the scale of the towers and the adjacent neighborhood. In addition to this function, the “jewel building” helps to define and shape the public space and retail shopping lanes of the project.

The design of the project, from landscape, to architecture, to interiors makes reference to the local colonial architecture, which, in turns, takes its cues from classical design which provides clear and orderly organization of space into a legible and navigable design. This design language has been mixed with local influences of climate, connection to nature, color schemes (as beautifully illustrated in the local “stupas”, or vernacular Buddhist temples), and textiles. It is through the measured balance and blend of these elements that the design team has been able to create an engaging and contemporary solution for the client.

Centrally located, with easy access to multiple transportation options, including road, air, rail and water, arriving at Colombo Square will be a breeze. The five-acre master plan of this development will ultimately be composed of five new towers, hosting residential, hospitality, and commercial programs. These towers, in conjunction with the masterfully designed landscape and public areas will complement and supplement the dense surrounding urban fabric which has existing amenities and features such as robust public transit, places of worship, parks, amusements, hotels, hospitals, and colleges within walking distance.

Colombo Square will also provide an enhanced environment for all who live, work, shop, stroll, overnight, visit, or simply come across the project. Most prominently featured will be Heritage Plaza. Located at the corner of the site, Heritage Plaza provides a welcoming “open door” to the project. Designed in partnership with world-class landscape architects Sasaki Associates, this public plaza faces and invites in the city. Instead of the typical approach of creating a street wall with the façade of a building, the design team recognized the critical importance of Colombo Square’s role in the civic life of the city and its inhabitants. As such, rather than building an edifice up to the street line, it was determined to create a multi-use plaza that would allow for flexible and varied programs in order to create the maximum interest, activity, enjoyment. The plaza will also feature moveable furniture, landscape elements and water features and will solidify Colombo Square as a cultural gathering space. Additionally, the open space design and approach was carefully and fully coordinated with the overall sustainability approach of the project and required the coordinated efforts of the entire design team from structural and building systems engineering, to landscape, sustainability, and architecture. Three core principles underlie this effort: resource conservation and protection; creation of both walkable and liveable environments to promote environmental and personal well-being; and engagement and integration into the community and fabric of the local neighborhood. In order to conserve resources Colombo Square has a robust water capture strategy that aims to recycle water and uses natural ventilation and shade to reduce the energy needed for day to day operations and the overall orientation of the massing promotes the southern prevailing winds to blow through the development. To integrate the existing urban fabric Michael Graves Architecture & Design was careful to fine tune the master plan layout, allowing for natural flow of people. Combining these elements, Colombo Square stands to make a strong positive impact on the local community.

Tata’s Colombo Square will be the development giant’s first foray into the Sri Lankan market, and as such, Michael Graves Architecture & Design is proud to have been the selected architect to design and deliver this world-class project. Colombo is truly a city of opportunity, growth, and fervent belief in the strong and exciting future that is laid out before it. Colombo Square is a project that embodies these themes and will make them visually and physically apparent as an iconic addition to the ever-growing skyline of the city.