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Maradana Railway Station, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Part 2 Project 1999
Andrew Kirk
Lilantha Wijayapala
University of Moratuwa Moratuwa Sri Lanka
The concept is to retain the image of a historical node as a “bridge” in the public transportation network and the character of the existing railway station.

Building locates defining the eastern edge of the bridge, at which will be given a clear definition to the changing scales of the public open space in front and the proposed vertical development to the rear..

The existing entry to the station from the main building and the secondary bridge is retained, conforming the latter in to the new building as a double height public path with intermediate light wells visually bridging the upper. The voluminous main waiting court gives refuge to the traveler while connecting “the new” and “the old” with controlled effects of light and shade with subtle changes in colour, textures and volume. The vertical transportation is used as a bridging sculpture, physically and visually as well. The piercing light through the stair slit is used to emphasize the theme to the extreme. The panoramic view visually connects the main levels in the public space while the “new” bridges with subtle contemporary detailing straddles the two architectural traditions of the platforms and the main entrance.

Andrew Kirk
Lilantha Wijayapala

Panchikawatte is an urban centre; an inner city area of Colombo congested with urban slums typical of the developing cities. Panchiikawatte is also well-known however for the specialized motor spare parts shops concentrated in one of its streets. Behind this busy modern streetscape lay the backyards of the urban ghettos accommodating people and spaces who kept the city alive. A number of historically significant theatre buildings at corners, the motor spare parts shops a railway station and land around the railway lines formed an area known as the Panchikawatte Traingle now listed for urban development and Urban interventions. The Maradana railaway Station, an old British building was a historical significant urban node generating and commanding the social routine here and dominating the character of the urban space in Panchikawatte. The students were required to select a location in this setting and respond to the urban, historical and social contexts prevalent there and to offer an intervention that will transform the city of Colombo to a livable enjoyable urban experience.

Lilantha Wijayapala's project was on the edge of the “Panchikawatte Traingle” in Colombo, anchored to this historic building and its vicinity. Lilantha responds in a subtle but definitive manner to this seemingly complex urban fabric imbued with conflicts of conservation, regeneration and a search for modern existence. Though relatively small in scale, this scheme demonstrates sensitivity to spontaneity of urban drama, to sense of history and present and to the cultural meanings at the same time. It generates a sense of place that is in keeping with the old and creating a subtle new direction and thereby maintaining and enhancing the spirit of place that prevails. Creating a dynamic place Lilantha transforms crowding to potential for social inter-action, in an exciting and vibrant functional place.

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