Where the Heart Is -- This Sri Lankan architect knows


This week, I’ve been lucky enough to come across some inspiring bits of info from the Asia-Pacific cultural arena. One was on Sri Lankan architect Chevadurai Anjalendran, whose work is the subject of the newly-released book Anjalendran: Architect of Sri Lanka, published by Tuttle. The native Sri Lankan started his business from his mother’s porch back in 1982, and has since become one of the country’s most noted figures in architecture. His work has encompassed private homes, commercial structures and schools–over a hundred finished projects to-date. And looking at some snapshots of his recent work it’s clear why he’s been a success–each shot is literally like taking a huge breath of clean air. There’s just something about the wide open lines, the rich tones and the unique aesthetic (Sri Lankan?) maintained throughout each of his spaces that appear at the same time both so desirable and.emotionally healthy. I guess you could call that ‘liveable.’

But what is inspiring beyond just his natural talent is the series of projects Anjalendran has undertaken for the greater part of his career for SOS Children’s Villages International organization. These have included designing orphanages, schools, retirement homes, and training centres under extreme budget constraints. It continues to impress me to see successful and talented professionals who choose to work for something other than money or increasing their professional clout.

Anjalendran now lives in a suburb of Colombo, living simply and without even a mobile phone. And despite his thriving career, it seems he has no plans to leave Sri Lanka. Of his love for the country, he said in a recent interview with the New Straits Times: ‘Despite the constant wars, Sri Lanka has always has been and will continue to remain more than “a small miracle”.’

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