A rough granite facade is the first introduction to this house built for a family with two young children, situated down a narrow lane in Rajagiriya. Faced with the restriction of ten perches in a highly built up residential area, coupled with the need to meet the clientʼs expectation of a retreat from their busy lifestyles, JGARCHITECTS rose to the challenge by creating a modern house with simple, minimalist spaces linked with the water body and lush vegetation at the rear.

Thus, in designing the house the architect has utilized the water body as the focal point, to which visual access has been fashioned even to the interior spaces. The use of unpolished granite on the exterior walls of the house, entrance doorway and floor finishes at the peripheries, attempt to instill a natural effect. Clean lines and edges prevail throughout.

The ground floor has a double height space that opens out into two courtyards on either side to bring a sense of the outdoors within. In order to compensate for the space restriction, the house rises to two floors in the front and three floors at the rear. A bridge connects these two masses that house the other living spaces. The ground floor accommodates, a guest room, double garage, service areas, dining and living areas, pantry and a kitchen. The guest room located at front has a view of the pond and the water body beyond.

The upper floors can be reached from the interior via a timber staircase with sleek iron construction details while also accessed from the outside by a spiral stairway with the access point on each floor secured by lockable doors. Mindful of preserving the double height space the staircase and the connecting bridge were given a light and minimalistic design that does not heavily impose upon the space. Recessed light fixtures further ensure this plain and uninhibited effect.

The most prominent feature of the ground floor is the view of the water body through a sliding foldable glass wall that opens out to a verandah, lawn and a short deck of old railway sleepers. The house raised to a height of two feet to avoid flooding and further raised with a six-inch step towards the interior creating a step-down approach to the river.

The use of timber is predominant in the upper floors with teak floorings, conferring a warm and homely atmosphere. Sliding glass windows with blinds for the bedrooms and open connecting passageways enabled by the double height space are intended to highlight connectivity of spaces and facilitate communication among family members at different locations.