Ceridwen Owen



This paper explores the relationship between architecture and natural environments through an interrogation of the culture-nature question and the possibility of operating in the space between these two polarities. The immensity of this topic is investigated through one fragment of its representation, Geoffrey Bawa’s Kandlama Hotel in Sri Lanka. Visually this building engages in a process of invisibility as the boundaries between inside and outside, architecture and landscape are dissolved. This is an approach that is common in green architecture in general and nature-based tourism destinations in particular. However, spatially the building maintains a clarity of separation, denying its connection with the ground. It is this negotiation between the visual and the spatial realm, where one is simultaneously part of and distanced from the external environment, which is the site of its potentiality. It is both literally and metaphorically a space ‘between’ inside and outside, culture and nature, home and away. The paper concludes by arguing that it is this state of dynamic tension that can challenge traditional representations of human/environment relations as alternatively undifferentiated or ontologically distinct.


Architecture; Culture; Nature; Binaries; Geoffrey Bawa

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