Creating History Through Architecture
Nela de Zoysa, Principal Architect & Founder, Design corp is a renowned name- both in her home country, Sri Lanka and on the global front. In conversation with Leandra Monteiro she speaks about architecture in India & Sri Lanka.
YOUR FORAY IN THE FIELD OF ARCHITECTURE
My father was one of Sri Lanka’s famous architects. So, I grew up in a very artistic household. I further developed my creativity through my years at the Melbourne Art School. However, I did things backwards. Straight after school I got married at the age of 18, went on to have kids and then went back to study architecture and take it up as a profession. After beginning as a trainee in my father’s company, in 1993 I set up my own firm. The rest as they say is history.
WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO DESIGN?
I consider myself an artist-architect. I believe in design that means something. Every aspect of a project should represent something. My architecture is always in sync with the heritage and climatic conditions of the site. Sinhalese vernacular architectural traditions motivate me to design keeping in mind the culture, climate and heritage of my home land. I believe success is achieved by having a good balance between creativity and business acumen.
HOW ARCHITECTURAL PRACTICE IN INDIA IS DIFFERENT FROM SRI LANKA?
India is far ahead of Sri Lanka in the use of technology and climatology. While working in India, I realised that the technology architects use here is at par with the western world. However, architecture in Sri Lanka is more creatively enhanced and inspired by the arts, religion, culture and nature. So, India can learn creativity of design from Sri Lanka and in return Sri Lanka can learn how to be more technically advanced.
Nela de Zoysa is the only living architect in Sri Lanka to be a Hon. FAIA and FRIBA. She is the first Sri Lankan to win the ARCASIA Gold Medal in 2000 and also the First Woman in Sri Lanka to win South Asian Architects Award in the same year.