City School of Architecture

Port City Award - Wall

City School of Architecture crowned “Runners-Up” in the “Vitality- Interactive Wall” competition

The beach sculpture competition was only but one platform laid by Colombo Port City which permitted to the creative architectural minds of Sri Lanka to showcase their potential, and it certainly was not the sole competition where the young minds of City School of Architecture showcased their mantle.

“Vitality and beauty are gifts of nature for those who live according to its laws.” Leonardo Da Vinci said it best. Setting the theme of this competition as “Vitality” is fitting, as it accurately represents the boulevard of Port City Colombo. It is the hub of all things exciting, fusing an extremely lively environment, painted by a clash of multi-cultural representation, energized by the thrilling vivacity of youth and modern technology. This is a haven where vitality thrives, and it is where anyone and everyone have the ability to cooperate as one.

It is evident that this location attracts the gaze of millions of individuals on a daily basis. It is the ideal platform to convey a message that could seed a change in the world. This is the fundamental principle of the interactive wall.

This was an opportunity served on a silver platter for aspiring architects to extract the concept of “vitality” and fuse it to their own unique vision of how the future should be forged. This interactive wall is to be their voice, a projection of their individuality used to show the true power of the inner drive which drives these young minds forward.

The competition officially opened for entries on the 29th of July 2020 and accepted entries till the 8th September 2020. The entries have been evaluated by a jury panel which comprised of Artist Anoma Wijewardena, Architect Ruchi Jeyanathan, Textile designer Shilanthi Abeygunawardhana and Xia Yuang , Associate Director/Landscape Designer of Atkins a Multinational Design and Engineering consultancy.

The CSA Alumni who submitted an entry for the competition included the team of designers Nethmini Liyanagamage, Shavendra Goonetilleke and Azamul Huq Abdul Haleem.

The students were placed under the mentorship of Ismael Abedin Ingelmo, founder of DXMID, an international Interior design and Sustainability consultancy for a period of 3 weeks.

Their entry narrated a tale of visual poetry which fused daily activity with the ‘greater’ vision of Port City Colombo. In 2021, the Vitality Wall aims to be a centerpiece, a visual cue that grabs the attention of visitors, engaging with them, and enriching the space around it. Its colours and anamorphic mirror will be a colorful belt with golden hints along the waterfront, capturing the panoramic view of future Colombo. Through this, the artists hoped to create an iconic ‘public place’ for the Port City.

The wall is expected to radiate a sense of belonging. By 2040, the wall will have become a part of the daily routine and a local landmark for residents. It will activate the space by inviting people to casually exercise, provide a place of rest, and present moments for photographic opportunities. Our wall will be an icon in the Port City that has been in place from an early stage. This wall in a sense is a constant in the ever-changing urban landscape.

Responding to the changing culture is of utmost importance. In an increasingly digitalized and distant world, the wall will become a point of physical human connection, a conversation starter, a catalyst of human interactions that bring people together. This wall allows users to manipulate their personal ‘environments’ by moving these physical elements to their liking. Through this, they capture memories and punctuate experiences.

Additionally, the next issue that needs to be addressed is the changing urban context. The choice of color coding used in the design is custom made to give a solution to this issue. The pink, red and orange contrast the soft green landscape leading to monotone hard textures of high risers and create a well-balanced color palette. The turquoise of the waterfront and green foliage is complemented by the warm reddish colours of the wall.

The partially hidden golden-hued mirror behind it creates a dynamic illusory reflection of the evolving cityscape and the wall is expected celebrate the development of the CBD. Percolating through the reds, the new architecture of the city will be in a picture-perfect composition.

The unique feature of this entry is its durability. Materials selected for the construction of the wall, as well as its finishing treatments was chosen carefully considering its oceanic climate, the potential for high wind, harsh sunlight, and salt-water sprays. HDPE boards ensure climatic durability, stability in high winds, and protection from acidic rains common in cities.

The strength capacity of the board reduces localized damages caused by thousands of hands that will move it over a period of 20 years. The quality of marine grade hardware keeps the wall’s interactively functioning for a long time. The artists aimed to be modular with the design and thus readily available materials were used for ease of long-term maintenance or part replacement.

This entry earned CSA the Runner-Up prize in the completion. Following the victory, the artists proclaimed “Our wall will be a unique place, full of life and color, in the Port City for visitors and residents with many memories in 2040.”

And 3 Masters students Sarala Hapuarachchi, Kawmali Waduge and Nipuni Wijerathne got an honorable mention at the interactive wall competition