Harding Boutique Hotel / ANARCHITECT
Text description provided by the architects. The first Harding Boutique Hotel designed by British Architect Jonathan Ashmore of RIBA-chartered practice ANARCHITECT is now open in the coastal town of Ahangama, situated in Sri Lanka’s lush Southern Province and a thirty-minute drive from the UNESCO World Heritage Site; Galle Fort. This six-suite independent boutique hotel pays homage to the Sri Lankan architectural genre of Tropical Modernism and its attributed father Geoffrey Bawa. As with Bawa’s later works, the hotel’s design explores modernism with local cultural implications and the area’s natural resources for a uniquely recognizable vernacular.
As well as the architecture, the practice was responsible for all design aspects of the property, including the interiors and bespoke joinery for an immersive contemporary experience. The building is unusual in the way that it extends vertically amongst the tropical vegetation – at its smallest point, it measures six meters across, creating a unique ground-level and street view perspective as one looks up, which compliments and contrasts the surrounding coconut grove. On entry, guests stand below a feature open staircase, which offers access to the rooms and a rooftop terrace. This ascension allows for immersive 360 views of the coastline to that of a typical low-lying holiday resort. Whilst the building doesn’t conform to a colonial-inspired design as a restrictive anchor, its modern-progressive architecture feels of place, as if it has always existed there; evoking an authentic Sri Lankan experience.
ANARCHITECT sourced all materials locally, selecting these based on their durability and longevity, given intense weather and sea exposure. As the area was affected by the 2004 Tsunami, the building lies beyond the required 20m setback from the coastline. Local craftsmen were employed to produce the hotel’s custom timber joinery, furniture and fit-out. Wall and floor surfaces were completed in a robust, satin polished local plaster that is typical of