Sri Lanka’s Harding Boutique Hotel offers contemporary tropical modernism

Sri Lanka’s Harding Boutique Hotel offers contemporary tropical modernism

Sri Lanka’s Harding Boutique Hotel by Anarchitect is a contemporary interpretation of tropical modernism

A love for modernist architect Geoffrey Bawa and the team’s admiration for the rich, welcoming landscape of Sri Lanka led the design in this hotel architecture project in the island nation’s Ahangama. Harding Boutique Hotel was created by Dubai-based studio Anarchitect, which is led by Jonathan and Militza Ashmore, a couple in work and life. The result is a thoroughly contemporary design that pays homage to its natural context and Sri Lanka’s 20th-century architecture. 

‘My great uncle was one of the first hoteliers and great pioneers of tourism in the country, opening what was then the Blue Lagoon – the country’s first hotel designed by Geoffrey Bawa – the father of Sri-Lankan modernist architecture,’ says the client, Sri Lankan-Australian hotelier Paul Harding. Architect Jonathan Ashmore was captivated by this piece of history and sought to connect with it, exploring the verdant island with its pristine beaches and wealth of architectural legacy. 

blue waters and rich vegetation at Sri Lanka Harding Boutique Hotel by Anarchitect

’The architecture of Harding Boutique Hotel instinctively draws upon its surrounding context and engages in a constant (and responsive) dialogue with nature to breathe life into the building and actively converse with its guests. At the heart of the building sits the open staircase, entirely cross-ventilated and cooled by the coastal prevailing wind. This defining feature is both raw and functional, yet it offers an opportunity to view new framed perspectives of nature between lattices and through slender apertures from various heights,’ says Jonathan Ashmore. 

He continues: ’With intimate nooks placed on the mid-landing, it encourages guests and visitors to pause, contemplate, or even engage in impromptu conversations with those located above, below or across levels, from inside to out. This purity and simplicity embedded within the architecture that brings this heightened sense of awareness and connection to nature and the climate, together with the way the building utilises these natural energies and either frames them or channels them into the interiors, is what I believe upholds the legacy of tropical modernism.’

glimpse through to the swimming pool at Sri Lanka Harding Boutique Hotel by Anarchitect

The independent hotel, which contains a mere six suites across its five floors, sits in a palm grove. The architecture connects with the landscape at every turn – through timber slatted façades, terraces, a ground-floor swimming pool and the aforementioned open-air feature staircase that connects all levels.

Alfresco dining and lounging are strong options (there is a restaurant on site), while natural cross-ventilation and carefully planned lighting and shading ensure the most comfortable experience for guests. §

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