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A Cultural Empowerment Centre , Galle

Part 1 Project 2012
Faadhil Zainudeen
City School of Architecture, Sri Lanka
Galle... an ancient trade port, and a military stronghold of the Portuguese, Dutch and British for over 500 years; a cultural goldmine with its historical remnants such as the Dutch fort intact, it is a constant reminder of its glorious past in the chaos of urbanism.

The pride of the Galle-ish culture lies in its arts. These Crafts and performances still remain unscathed for centuries, though in decline in its significance in the lives of people and thus in hope of preservation

To remedy this, is to create space that would highlight ways in which these aspects in culture can once more be revived by instating new purpose in the lives of people while maintaining its essence. The people’s mindsets have evolved into focusing in great detail into the mundane details of daily life lost sight and interest in embracing their culture. Empowerment is a long process and a single visit to the centre couldn’t possibly have a lasting effect on people.

It was important to integrate the empowerment centre as part of their daily lives in order to ensure the project’s success. The site is surrounded by a series of transport nodes, public buildings / spaces. Upon examination of pedestrian movement, I concluded that the site could be the liaising cross point across these various landmarks and the CEC to accommodate such a crossing. I created an overhead pathway that would connect all these spaces and would merge with the inside of the CEC, exposing people to certain spaces and providing options of entering the main spaces of the building.

The site which was an old railway station was a linear open space next to a canal and was flanked on either side by densely built areas. To maintain the charm of the site, I architecturally translated these characteristics and provided a gable roof to give a sense of familiarity in the Galle-ish context. To add a modern twist, I provided fenestrations in the required areas of the buildings which give the effect of a seamless edge between the old and the new.

Faadhil Zainudeen


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