Project Description

The Institute is located in a multi-cultural and multi religious background of city of Negombo. Though it has been named as a cultural institute for funding and other statutory purposes the institute is primarily function as a Tertiary Education institution. It is comprised of three Departments: namely, Language Studies, Higher Studies and Inter-religious Dialogue and Cooperation. The Institute offers its services with the mission of formation of individuals who are professionally competent in their chosen fields, ready to act with moral integrity and who aspire to promote always social and religious harmony. The given site was a former teacher training school, with a existing chapel which has a significant architectural value influenced by the post-independence nationalistic movements and pseudo architectural influences of mid-20th century. The new master plan of this “Revitalized Institute” is developed by creating the existing chapel as the focal point and other existing and new buildings have been sited alongside of it with their own functions. A major part of the brief is a residential component.

Bendict 2
Benedic church

Building Details

Religious + Institutional + Residential

New building project / Renovated building project

56,656 m²




25 m²

4,624 m²

4244 m²

4244 m²


EURO 225,000

EURO 485



Project Team

Archt. Sagara Jayasinghe - Individual Practice

Asiri Contractors, Sri lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force

Shiromal Fernando, Vasantha Ratnayake

Archt. Sagara Jayasinghe

Sagara Jayasinghe is a Fellow Member of Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) and a Senior Lecturer attached to the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Moratuwa. He has won several design awards of excellence at the Sri Lanka Institute Architects’ Annual Sessions. These include the “Dulux Colour Award” (2006) for the creative use of colour in architecture and the prestigious “Young Architect of the Year Award” (2008). He is also a prolific writer who has won the SLIA’s annual award for Architectural Publications in 2008 and 2013 respectively, whilst contributing regularly to both foreign and local journals on architecture.

Access Solar (pvt) ltd

Urban Development Authority

Climate Analysis

Negombo has tropical monsoon climate. Negombo located at the western coast of the island. The climatic influence of the ocean is significant. City temperatures vary between 24-34 C throughout the year. During the monsoon season, Negombo gets heavy rainfalls. Usually April to May and September to November records the highest rainfall to Negombo. Shading and cross ventilation is deemed the best method of developing indoor comfort.

Benedict xvi cultural institute

Design Approach

From the master plan to the construction details, the design has been developed with this idea of environmental friendliness and passive cooling needed in a tropical country like Sri Lanka. All the buildings have been located in a way which provides greenery and open spaces around each of the building, while all the buildings open up to extensive garden spaces. The pond are significant in their contribution to the overall master plan and microclimate of the complex.

The passive approaches utilised focus mainly on low scale building, cross ventilation, shade and evaporative cooling. The albedo of built surfaces are also significant. Evaporative cooling is facilitated by large ponds to the forefront of the complex.The broad white masonry fins and pergolas along the verandas prevent the direct sunlight coming into the building while creating a shaded buffer zone around the whole building. These elements were also added to the existing buildings on site, creating both a cohesive language and enhanced opportunities for shade. The building design with openings on both the sides effectively provides cross ventilation, thus bringing the cool air of outside, replenished by water and extensive vegetated surface cover.


Special Feature

The combination of glass panels and the white aluminium pergolas coverings above the verandas acts as a shading device and also creates a fusion between modernism and traditionalism while breaking the monotony of the place by adding liveliness of the shadow art to the whole design.

Natural ponds act to avoid extensive run-off. Thus create maximum possibilities for on site evaporative cooling.

The new developments merge and follow a similar architectural language to the what was existing. The chapel takes center stage in the layout. The residential and academic wings are oriented with long facades facing north / south. These major facades in terms of light and ventilation integration are also oriented towards the site climate control strategies adopted - the extensive vegetated surfaces and ponds. Shaded zones that envelope the existing building and the new create a cohesive language and most importantly shade to fenestration. On site vegetation is deemed to be a positive factor in making the site microclimate conducive for natural light and ventilation. The light colours - white - used for all walls increase albedo of the surfaces, reducing radiation transfer to the interior habitable spaces.

Re-use and renovation. High albedo, high thermal mass and shade.

Extensive site vegetation cover and water features create buffer zones for residential and institutional activities.

Building Material

Load-bearing masonry. The new follows the existing in its proportions, yet adopt a RCC support frame.

RCC individual footings with random rubble strip foundations

Residential areas are constructed using 300mm thick brick walls, plastered both sides (outside; rough plastered and white coloured inside lime plastered and painted white); Thus increases Thermal mass and albedo of surfaces.

Extensive shading fins, pergolas and roof overhangs protect and insulate the interior.

Interior - cement floating finished smooth Exterior - pressed cement tiles

All surfaces are kept light or as natural colours. The approach is to ''keep it simple''.

Terracotta tile roof on timber frame with an angled ceiling, creating volume;

Energy systems

compact flouracent

Solar LED with light sensors

Ceiling fans take prominence in a naturally ventilated design approach.

no air conditioning

no lift

Solar LED with light sensors for exterior lighting

Energy consumption was calculated to understand the total energy consumption of the building. No simulations were done. But then solar panels were fixed after considering the total energy consumption of the building. All the buildings run with the solar power by making the design more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Gable roof oriented to capture the east west sun was covered with solar panels. Solar panels are producing total energy of 446,545KWh per month. Daily maximum energy production is 67.677 kW. And the street solar lights were fixed sides of the street. However, the peak energy demand could not be supplied by the solar panel system. Therefore, net metering was introduced.
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Lessons Learned

For an institute like this, the total energy requirement can not be measured straight away. But the given solar panels are producing enough power to run the institute on a daily basis, but for a bigger function they may need additional energy to run the system.