‘Sri Lanka Construction Today’ mag launched

The inaugural issue of ‘Sri Lanka Construction Today’ published by the Ceylon Institute of Builders (CIOB), was launched recently.

‘Sri Lanka Construction Today’, a quarterly publication, includes an array of ‘rich and vibrant articles written by experts in the field in an attempt to bridge the noticeable gap felt by many in the industry’.

Prof. Samitha Manawadu of the University of Moratuwa, for instance, writing on his quest to resurrect the lost city of Mudunkondapola, located in the present Kurunegala District, describes the advantages of Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) to survey its supposed capital, Nikasala Nuwara.

In an informative Q&A interview, industry stalwart Prof. Chitra Weddikkara speaks of the challenges that the construction boom in the country poses, such as safety, water and electricity supply, disposal of garbage and sewerage.

The magazine devotes a double-spread pictorial to the upcoming 240-metre residential and commercial Altair twin towers, which will change the Colombo skyline with its unique tilt design.

President of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects D.H. Wijewardena, in his article, asks if Sri Lanka has lost its identity in architecture.

He says the architect creates identity either by designing buildings to have a purpose, as for example, a school or temple, or for the uniqueness of its design, a prime example of which is the Parliament complex built in the middle of the Diyawanna. Then again, he says, architects design buildings which lend national identity, such as the Sydney Opera House.

Wijewardena says ancient Sri Lanka had a proud history of architecture, which was lost after colonization. He lauds the late Geoffrey Bawa whom he says understood the essence of Sri Lankan identity.

Wijewardena says sadly, such identity is not seen anymore. He cites the example of Nelum Pokuna, which one would have to fly over to figure out the shape of the pond. He therefore advocates for a Government Architect to ensure Sri Lankan identity.

Wijewardena is critical of the apartment complexes rapidly coming up in Colombo, which he says lack proper planning.

CIOB President and Chairman of the National Construction Association of Sri Lanka, Dr Rohan Karunaratne who is synonymous with ‘green building’ and has been involved with Hotel Heritance Kandalama, Deer Park Hotel and Trans Asia, says the CIOB ‘green’ strategy is to minimize use of energy from the environment and to reduce emissions to a minimum.

They found that the construction industry can help reduce carbon emissions by 40% and looked to Singapore for advice.

Prof. Manawadu again writes on the iconic Colombo Lotus Tower or Neum Kuluna, also pictorially detailing the complexities of this unique structure.

Much coverage is given in the magazine to smart cities, outlining the world’s top 10 smart cities and making a case for developing Colombo as a smart city.

University of Moratuwa Vice Chancellor, Professor Ananda Jayawardena says R&D in the local construction industry is negligible. He says there is local talent for the necessary research, but funds are lacking.

The magazine is edited by Chandrapala Liyanage, who is assisted by a Board of Advisors comprising leaders in the field and makes for interesting and informative reading on the gamut of subjects in the field of construction.