• Amy Frearson

Staircases by Sri-Lankan Modernist- Geoffrey Bawa

Every staircase designed by Geoffrey Bawa is unique says David Robson, the leading expert on Sri Lanka's best-known architect. In a Dezeen exclusive, he picks out the 10 that are most worth knowing.


The late Bawa was one of the driving forces behind the style of architecture known as tropical modernism, combining his education in the UK with the traditions of his home country.



From the 1950s up until his death in 2003, he completed over 100 buildings in Sri Lanka, as well as a handful in other countries including India and Indonesia.

"Bawa's approach could be characterised as a search for the new and the authentic informed by lessons from the past," said Robson. "His was an architecture of place which responded to the physical and the cultural context."

"He used traditional materials and construction methods to create spaces that were of their time and place," he added.


"He never repeated himself"


A friend of the architect, Robson wrote the monograph Bawa: The Complete Works, published in 2002, and also curated a retrospective exhibition at the Deutches Architektur Museum in Frankfurt in 2004.

His latest project is a book focusing specifically on Bawa's staircase designs. Published by Laurence King and featuring photography by Sebastian Posingis, Bawa Staircasesaims to reveal the "rich diversity" across the architect's portfolio.

"Every design was unique and he never repeated himself," explained Robson.

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