The Kadju House, a beach villa, set within a cashew plantation, offers panoramic views of sunrises and sunsets over the Seenimodera bay in the Sri Lankan town of Tangalle.
For Architect Pradeep Kodikara, context played the most intrinsic role in the design of this beach villa. Pradeep graduated from the Colombo School of Architecture (CSA ) in the late 90’s and has worked with renowned Sri Lankan architects Anjalendran C and Geoffrey Bawa.
Pradeep currently heads a small practice in Colombo which is best known for its competence with designing compact urban homes.
At the blueprint level the brief for the Kadju House started as a writer’s retreat for its Indian owner. The home was later converted into a chic boutique hotel and has been rated as one among the top 25 beach villas by Conde Nast Traveller UK in the year 2010.
Though the miniscule budget was a major constraint, as was the physical separation of the villa plot from the bay (1km) Pradeep has dealt with these constraints rather innovatively in his design and through the choice of materials used in the project.
The architect has exercised a deliberate restraint in the design of the house. The views from the house take precedence over built spaces and the plan evolved out of the need to maintain a constant connection with the bay (despite being located at a distance of 1 km from it).
Hence, this double storey L-shaped house has minimal walls, doors and windows in the public spaces. The living and dining spaces are permeable to the garden and ocean views, and the threshold between the interior and exterior is nearly indistinct.
The manipulation of the site too demonstrates an understanding of an aim for a continued connection with the bay. The site slopes gradually towards the sea and Pradeep designed the house to occupy the highest level and thus have the vantage of ocean views while a series of garden terraces were created going down towards the bay. These terraces are idyllic, perfect for outdoor dining and parties.
Since the site housed a cashew plantation earlier, once the house and terraces were set, as many trees as possible were conserved and retained and the house too conveniently acquired its moniker – Kadju House.
The living quarters have been relegated to the upper level thus creating uninterrupted views of the sea for its occupants. These spaces opens out to the most theatrical part of the villa, the stunning infinity pool and the deck.
Swaying coconut palms provide a fluid boundary to the pool while casting linear reflections in the water. The blue of the pool blends into the indigo of the distant bay and then merges with the infinite skies beyond. The living area conveniently spills over into the dramatic outdoor deck whenever the need arises.
The dining area is located at the lower level and opens out to the stepped garden terraces and garden views where the experience of the sea is still all pervasive.
The living and dining areas connect the two wings (bedroom and service) of the house. The villa has four bedrooms. These have minimal furniture and access to the garden from the lower level bedrooms forms a reprieve from the occasional monotony of an ocean view.
But it’s the bathrooms that have been designed to be delightful. The bathrooms (especially the ones on the ground floor) re-orient the occupants towards the pleasures of living in tropical Sri Lanka with its lush gardens. The lower floor bathroom is located in a private garden.
The kitchen, the staff area and store are located beneath the deck and the pool at the lower level. The kitchen opens into a small productive garden where fresh produce is grown for use in the villa.
The selection of innovative yet low cost materials like discarded cinnamon sticks, that are found inexpensively in the region form the fencing and screens within the villa.
Simple cement finishes, minimal doors and windows are some more measures that have helped align with the budget, apart from producing an architecture that hinges on beauty and sheer simplicity.
Text By Varna Shashidhar
Photographs Yannik Tissera, Laxman Nadaraja