Urban Quotient

Master-Plan and Prototype Housing for Post-Tsunami Reconstruction

Kirinda & Anderagasyaya Villages, Sri Lanka (2005)
Other Team Members: Pradeep Kodikara, Sanath Liyanage, Varuna da Silva, Arosha Perera

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Kirinda Village one week after the tsunami

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Design consultation with community residents of Kirinda

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Karagahagedare Ambalama – a Buddhist pilgrims’ rest and a model of Sri Lankan vernacular architecture

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Interior courtyard – a typical example of domestic vernacular architecture

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Sketch of Gallery Café – former studio of Architect Geoffrey Bawa

On December 26, 2004 the worst natural disaster in South Asian History occurred. A tsunami resulting from an earthquake of magnitude 9.0 struck Sri Lanka particularly hard, affecting over 800,000 people and destroying over 90,000 buildings and homes. UQ Principal Samir S. Shah was based in Colombo at the time, conducting research as a Fulbright Fellow. He joined with a group of Sri Lankan friends and colleagues to offer assistance in the planning and reconstruction effort.

The team of five architects volunteered to conduct damage assessments and to provide Sri Lanka’s National Planning Authority with a reconstruction master plan for Kirinda and surrounding areas, in the southeast corner of the island. At the same time, the team formed a partnership with Architecture for Humanity to help raise over $500,000 in donations to implement the master plan.

Between January and May of 2005, the team consulted with community leaders, larger assemblies of the community, and local officials to review the design work and conduct design charettes. In addition to this, the team was asked to plan a new village nearby, called Anderagasyaya, and to coordinate with the United Nations and other NGO’s and development organizations who had pledged assistance in the reconstruction process.

In preparing the master plan, the team also designed prototype housing for the different religious and cultural groups in the area. This is one of ten model prototype homes for permanent shelter built to specifications for the Muslim community of Kirinda by Zonta II Club of Colombo. Eventually, over 200 homes were built from these plans with some modifications.