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City Gallery 'The Bridge', Town Hall, Colombo 7

Part 1 Project 2010
Mewan Jayasingha
City School of Architecture | Sri Lanka
The site allocated for the project is the heart of Colombo - Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo 07. Surrounded by architectural monuments the site itself creates an impression.

The City Gallery which will be a part of this majestic city should be able to tell its own story while complementing the surroundings. The idea was that not only the physical built form but the functions which are going to take place in the City Gallery must be expressive, impressive and must be an experience.

It is questionable why Colombo with all its majesty and wealth has depreciated throughout the years. Unplanned, haphazard growth has taken place due to lack of information available to the general public.

The ‘Bridge’ is the result of being handed the task of transforming the Town Hall Triangle's unplanned and haphazard growth into a state of the art facility for expression. It is designed to be the link between state institutions and the public creating transparency between the two parties.
This will eventually make people aware of the ongoing developments and proposals that are going to be implemented in the future. The relevant authorities can directly make the general public participate in discussions and obtain their feedback on developing a more user friendly proposal thus creating a better and profitable future for Colombo.

The activities which are housed inside will make the journey through this building interesting. Different fields such as Art, sculpture and information can be shared and expressed.
I have interpreted the gallery not just as a museum which displays art work but as a place which reinforces the strength of the City by making it a peoples’ place.

The gallery comprises of playful and transparent spaces of expression. The exterior facade, and interior spaces aim to create a visual representation of the bridging of transparency via solid forms merging into translucent and then into the transparent. The broken forms that come together represent the struggle of bridging such a gap between the state and the public. The whole complex is an unconventional way of experiencing such a phenomenon.

Mewan Jayasingha

Nomination was based upon the student’s ability to analyze the particular requirements of the design project and come up with an exciting yet contextually relevant scheme.
The site in question was a linear one which ran in parallel to one of the cities main public buildings, the Town Hall.
A simple linear development which was earlier enclosed in a minimalist shell later evolved into a form in which the inner workings of the building was exposed thereby laying bare the functional aesthetics that governed the overall design.
What is exciting is the fact that the student understood the fact that design was a ever evolving process, a positive feedback loop in which there was no single static point.
It was always in a state of flux, the many influences of context & function at times competed with each and this factor always made the design stronger.
The design for the City Gallery in the Town hall triangle as submitted by the student creates the essential input in the re-vitalization of a very significant Urban space.
As such this scheme stands out from the other submissions, we commend it to the jury.


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