IFRC community center
Thalalla, Sri Lanka
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Community center for the villagers affected by tsunami.

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Category:
meeting place
Phase:
in use
Design:
Chinthaka Wickramage
Updated:
12 November 2012
introduction

This Building was designed as a community center for tsunami affected community of Thalalla, Mathara in Southern Sri Lanka. Located in a Buddhist temple premises the community center was donated by an international humanitarian organization international federation of red cross and red crescent societies(IFRCS) as a token of gratitude towards the chief monk of the temple who helped Tsunami effected communities of Thalalla, Mathara in Southern Sri Lanka by providing food and lodging in the difficult days after the 2004 boxing day Tsunami. This Community center was conceived as a cost effective building due to budget constraints, with flexibility for future expansion in terms leaving provisions to install a mezzanine timber deck later in the ample double height volume available in the cathedral like height of the community center.

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cultural and social context

As the community center was located in a temple it was decided to raise the building above ground in the ancient Buddhist temple building tradition of 'tem pita viharas' (building on pillars) so that it will be accessible during a possible flood or a worst case scenario Tsunami. Chief Monk of the temple was initially reluctant to donate temple land for a single story building, due to scarcity of vacant temple land. To solve the problem, the architects had to come up with a design proposal where a future expansion in terms of a timber deck mezzanine floor can be carried out at a later stage, after completion of the construction of the community center as a first phase. Thus the solution is a cathedral like double height volume with its 45 degree steeply sloping roof, leaving ample space for a future expansion.

Facilities in the community center include a reading room, a library, male and female toilets and a common hall for meetings. It serves as Buddhist religious school on Sundays in addition to being a preaching hall on Buddhist religious full moon 'Paya' holidays. With the above multi-purposes use of the community center, the building was expected to serve wider variety of public in various ways in this region of Tsunami hit Southern Sri Lanka.

Cultural Context

image: Dilip Vazirani | © all rights reserved
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Cultural Context 2

image: Dilip Vazirani | © all rights reserved
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materials and building techniques

The raised floor of the community center was made of a suspended concrete slab (precast), laid on in-situ cast reinforced concrete column and beam structural skeleton. Due to budget constraints, brickwork walls were left exposed without plaster; concrete columns and beams including roof beams were left raw concrete to increase the textured tactile quality of the community center. Roof was also left ceiling-less as a value engineering exercise, letting the possibility for the roof to 'breath'. The steeply sloping roof was constructed out of exposed colored timber rafters in a clay tiled roof cover.

As a counterpoint to the otherwise somber surroundings, splashes of color were introduced by way of cheerfully colored doors to the interior of the building. Two four feet tall trianfular hanging lights were fixed to the roof ridge beam of the main multi-purpose hall, designed in the tradition of 'vesak lanterns' with a white cloth cover emitting a soothing light emanating from the 4 feet tall fluorescent light, to brighten the double height hall.

Write Up

image: Chinthaka Wickramage | © all rights reserved
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image gallery
Community Centre double height main hall interior

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Main Hall seen from Village Govt. Representatives Office

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Multi Purpose Main Hall Double height Interior

image: Kesara rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Multi Purpose Main Hall Double Height Interior

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Main hall with Benches for Community Meetings

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Main Hall with Benches for Community Meetings

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Main Hall with Benches for Community Meetings

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Double height Main hall at Night

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Double height Main hall at Night

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Community Centre seen from Forecourt

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Community Centre Building Gable End Elevation

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Community Centre seen from Buddhist Temple premises

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Community Centre at night seen under the sacred Bo tree of the Temple

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Community Centre nestles under the sacred Bo Tree of the Buddhist Temple

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Community Meeting in the Main Hall

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Community Meeting in Main Hall

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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Community Meeting in Main hall

image: Kesara Rathnavibhushana | © all rights reserved
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technical drawings
Exterior Perspective View

image: Chinthaka Wickramage | © all rights reserved
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Exterior Perspective View

image: Chinthaka Wickramage | © all rights reserved
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Exterior Perspective View

image: Chinthaka Wickramage | © all rights reserved
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Layout Plan

image: Chinthaka Wickramage | © all rights reserved
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Cross Section

image: Chinthaka Wickramage | © all rights reserved
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Longitudinal Section

image: Chinthaka Wickramage | © all rights reserved
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Side Elevation

image: Chinthaka Wickramage | © all rights reserved
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Front elevation

image: Chinthaka Wickramage | © all rights reserved
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Location
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