Safdie Architects has been selected to design a 69-storey residential building in Colombo, Sri Lanka, slated to be the city's tallest building. The mixed-use development is in the city center and will face Beira Lake, with pedestrian accessible retail outlets at the ground level.
The design includes expansive family and community space amenities such as community gardens, shared outdoor spaces within the upper levels of the building, and individual roof gardens or terraces for every residence, a hallmark of Safdie's design philosophy to provide access to outdoor spaces in high density urban housing.
The Colombo project draws on Safdie's groundbreaking Habitat '67 in Montreal. Since that time, Safdie Architects has continued to explore and build projects incorporating fractal-geometry surface patterns, dramatic stepping of the structure that results in a network of gardens open to the sky, and streets that interconnect and bridge community gardens in the air.
Colombo's building form consists of two tower blocks, with one block leaning into the other vertical tower, which supports it. The overall form tapers towards the sky, so that even though it is quite a large building, it maintains a delicacy on the skyline. The structure is highly rationalized, affording cross-ventilation and multiple exposures in every residential unit. The towers are oriented to the movement of the sun and to maximize air flow in the tropical climate, as well as take advantage of 270-degree views of Beira Lake and the Indian Ocean.
At the ground level, an arcade of retail outlets on the west side facing Beira Lake sets the standard for future lakefront development along the planned pedestrian promenade. Restaurants on a mezzanine level overlook the promenade onto the Lake.