Architecture, this has been defined by many people over centuries. Mother of all science, Architecture the frozen music etc. ,Out of all my favorite thing is Frank Loyd Wright’s saying “a doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vine”.In Sri Lanka of course we don’t get vine but we have so many different verities of flower creepers.
Frankly it does not matter which professional: but we all do mistakes, After all we are all human and “ to error is human to forgive is divine. ”But continuous mistakes are not accepted by everyone.It is important that we don’t do same mistake repeatedly. Well good luck on that.
As architects our mistakes could be a functional mistake, which in a simple way we have design a building for particular purpose but that purpose is not serving. Much easier way if we design a nice looking toilet but when we are using the water closet if it’s not working it is not acceptable at all. We can blame to manufacture but it’s architect‘s fault.
But there are some extreme scenarios such as clients spending billions of money over one house. But end of the day there is an astrologer coming to the scene and saying the house is not appropriate for successful for business.
Architects are not liable for such intangible reasons that may be the reason that Mukesh Ambani did not sue Architect of his house Alitalia, Mr. Ambani is not living in that Alitalia tower somehow. We architects are not responsible for such situations at all.
The other mistakes that we do are structural mistakes. This could be join effort with the structural engineer as well but as architects we have greater responsibility than anybody else. This includes selecting compatible materials, analyzing the weather; site climatic conditions all this architect’s work. This is not an easy job at all.
Then the maintenance of the building. It is totally irrelevant how much building look good in photographs, but the building maintenance is costs a fortune. We have to make sure the building still looking good with the time by minimum maintenance.
Most of architects today facing huge difficulty at this stage. We have clients who have extremely high hopes with the appearance of the building, but with large glass faced s,very expensive imported fixture we can’t archive the same appearance without higher maintaining .These all 21st century problems that all architects facing around the globe.
But there was a time people did build for themselves, their requirements were little,
Architecture without Architects this is a book which I referred in my first year of architecture education by Bernard Rudofsky. It has Short Introduction to Non-pedigreed Architecture and also provides a demonstration of the artistic, functional, and cultural richness of vernacular architecture.
In that book I remember mobile roofs that people carrying when they are traveling to protect weather. Commonly used in some parts of the Africa and eastern Asia.
In Sri Lanka this is a tiny little island, the pearl of the Indian Ocean, we also had the similar thing which Bernard Rudofsky have missed in his book. A very long time ago that Sri Lankans even heard about Lamborghini and Aston Martin. We Sri Lankans walked from place to place. May be rich people had their horse carriages but majority of Sri Lankans walked. This is a small Island length and breadth approximately 450 KM and 250 KM but really beautiful. Exciting landscape with an amazing topography.
But we had is not a mobile structure. There is no owner but everyone looked after it, well maintained it.That is known as “Ambalama”.Basically Ambalama is a place constructed for people, traders and travelers to rest, to stay overnight. Most importantly this was absolutely free.
If Jesus Christ was born in Sri Lanka definitely he will be born in “Ambalama”.This was commonly used in even early 20th.But during the Colonial period of Sri Lanka things started changing. They introduced rest houses and hotels but those are not free. But In Sri Lanka we don’t have Motels like in USA.But in Sri Lanka we have rooms which we can rent on hourly basis. But none of these places are not free.
Ambalama is a basic structure; of course we can’t compare it with high facilitated hotel rooms. But still that’s how we lived. Even with the Ambalama user had some codes of ethics. The occupant has to clean after he used the place. Cooking and preparation of meals only done in the outside of the Ambalama. People don‘t disturb each other. Even there was a custom the people shared their food among other passengers those who did not have. It was a common place there is no any particular owner or care taker. This system worked long time ago, but not I don’t have such subtle experience. Even In Sinharaja forest I have found owners.
Gal Ambalama Kotte
There are still few Ambalama preserved considering its archaeological value. Still in Colombo Pita Kotte Gal Ambalama which belongs to the Kotte period of Sri Lanka can be seen. Some people still using it as a shelter.
But my most favorite Ambalama is located in Kurunagala district. Which known as “Karagaha Gadara Ambalama”.It s really beautiful wooden structure. Apart from that within that area there are few other preserved wooden structure,Even though it small structure but it has answered most of thepracticle issues we are facing today.
Karagaha gedara Ambalama details
The wooden structure sits on the Rock face as well supported by rocks.
Over looking the paddy fields,
Even the Panavitiya Ambalama is wooden structure,
But Karagaha Gadara Ambalama is located on a more people friendly environment. Basically its sits on a rock with adjoining paddy fields. The farmers those who comes to the paddy fields still using it as a shelter.
Panavitiya Ambalama,more elaborated timber column details.
Sri Lanka during the past years the road system was upgraded. The.The newly constructed road passing through Karagaha Gadara Ambalama.
It looks like a nice contrast of modern and old. Even I have has my breakfast here when I was on my way to Anuradhapura. I was alone, people are very friendly, I feel much secured even it was with heavy rain.
Very relaxing time I had alone there, but again I have visited with some friends, In my experience it s nice place with or without friends,