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LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 for Asia Pacific prize handover ceremony, Kuala Lumpur
Presentation to winner of the LafargeHolcim Building Better Recognition (l-r): Daniel Bach, Area Manager LafargeHolcim for South East Asia and China congratulates Milinda Pathiraja, Director, Partner & Co-Founder, Robust Architecture Workshop, Colombo, Sri Lanka. The design for a community library in Ambepussa, Sri Lanka, built with the support of former army personnel engaged in the nation’s civil war, shows that “turning swords into ploughshares” can be realized even today.
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Global Silver Awards 2015 prize ceremony – Post-War Collective: Community library and social recuperation, Ambepussa, Sri Lanka
Presentation of the Global Silver Award 2015: celebration of prize winners Ganga Ratnayake and Milinda Pathiraja (center) of Robust Architecture Workshop, Colombo and team members.
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Project update November 2015 – Post-War Collective: Community library and social recuperation, Ambepussa, Sri Lanka
The slip-form, rammed- earth wall construction process is projected as an opportunity to transfer technology to locals/soldiers. The subsequent training tasks are planned at an early design stage called “fabrication and training design”. Here, various components of the system and mould-work are delineated, the fabrication/training tolerances are defined, the production site (training ground), minimum module and sample labour gang (for training) are established, and fabrication steps are laid out.
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Feature interview – Post-War Collective: Community library and social recuperation, Ambepussa, Sri Lanka
“An architect has three responsibilities: first to oneself and the practice; second, to clients; and third, to society. We always aim to bring these three dimensions together in our work.” – (l-r): Milinda Pathiraja and Ganga Ratnayake, Sri Lanka
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Video interview – Post-War Collective: Community library and social recuperation, Ambepussa, Sri Lanka
How real building projects can transfer knowledge and build skills is the key to Milinda Pathiraja’s Holcim Awards Bronze winning project. “Post-War Collective: Community library and social recuperation” in Ambepussa, Sri Lanka aims to reintegrate former soldiers into post-civil war society. Young men from underprivileged backgrounds are trained in building techniques through their involvement in the construction of public buildings – such as this Community Library.
Milinda Pathiraja is Co-Founder of Robust Architecture Workshop (RAW) based in Colombo, Sri Lanka and winner of LafargeHolcim Awards in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
Last updated: November 28, 2016 Colombo
Milinda Pathiraja is Director, Partner and Co-Founder of Robust Architecture Workshop (RAW) based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He believes in the power of architecture to integrate and contribute to the resolution of social, political, and economic challenges.
He is also an Honorary Senior Fellow in the Faculty of Architecture, Building & Planning at the University of Melbourne, Australia and collaborates with the Laboratory of Construction & Architecture (ENAC), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EFFL Lausanne).
He runs Robust Architecture Workshop with Co-Founder Ganga Ratnayake and Kolitha Perera. Major commissions for Robust Architecture Workshop include the Dewahoova Primary School library, Office building in Nugegoda, Workers’ facilities at Puttalam, International Training Center in Kotmale, Community Library in Ambepussa, and Youth Training Center in Mankulam, Sri Lanka.
Milinda Pathiraja completed a Bachelor Science in Built Environment (1997) at the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka and a Bachelor of Architecture (2001) at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He then completed his PhD in Architecture at the University of Melbourne (2010), researching the possible role of architecture in developing world regions as facilitators of construction policy. His PhD dissertation was entitled The function of robust technology in the construction of a “third-world” practice: architecture, design and labour-training.
He was a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Architecture at the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka (2011-16), and a Lecturer (2009-10) and Sessional Tutor (2005-10) in the Faculty of Architecture, Building & Planning at the University of Melbourne.
His writing on resilient architecture has appeared in Building the Future: Sustainable and Resilient Built Environments (University of Moratuwa, 2016) as well as in journals The Architect, South Asia Journal of Culture, International Journal for Disaster Prevention & Management, and EYES. He has presented his work at conferences in Singapore, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
His work was exhibited as one of 88 architects profiled in the international section of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition at Biennale Architettura 2016, he received the Terra Awards for Earthen Constructions (2016) in the category for cultural facilities, and the President’s Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis (2011) from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). He also received the CIOB Australasia Excellent Building Postgraduate (Research) Award (2011); the University of Melbourne Chancellor’s Prize for Excellence (2012); and the Australian Alumni Excellence Award for Education (2014).
He was a panellist at the concluding discussion of the 15th International Architectural Biennale, “Sustainability vs Security”, on November 25, 2016. The panel discussed how growing security concerns add complexity to the challenges to which architecture must respond.
Milinda Pathiraja was a winner of the Global LafargeHolcim Awards Silver 2015 and regional Bronze prize for Asia Pacific in 2014 with “Post-War Collective: Community library and social recuperation in Ambepussa, Sri Lanka”. Made from rammed-earth walls and recycled materials, the building was constructed with the support of the army, teaching young soldiers building techniques and skills through its construction process. The project also received the LafargeHolcim Building Better Recognition in 2017 for being implemented and standing the test of time as a particularly successful example of sustainable building.