Camiel Weijenberg joined Annie Ivanova, Australian International Arts Curator, and Tim Chou from Akuma Design at the Asia Design Platform Design Tour in Bangkok this month. Dedicated to promoting the global design exchange, the association aims to provide a platform for emerging designers in Asia.
Speaking about "Crafting the Traditional Through Design and Dialogue" Camiel challenged the audience to observe lateral dialogues designers apply to their work in order to create architecture that enhances the environment in which we live in. As a team of architects, designers and researchers who specialize in the application of urban design through cultural and contextual analysis, WEIJENBERG is uncompromising about this dialogue, imprinting its own distinctive brand on each of the firm's projects.
Conversations can occur between client and architect, between the landscape and site. Dialogue can speak through the traditional materials used and how these materials are sculpted using local methods or the latest technology, so that ultimately, all conversations chime together to tell one unifying story about a design.
Projects such as WEIJENBERG’s Sri Lanka Boutique Resort explore the relationship between nature and architecture. Situated in the remotest reach of the Sri Lankan peninsula, the landscape, wind and the sun’s direction were investigated first as well as existing construction methodologies found in Sri Lanka. This resulted in a curvature shaped building angled towards the bay so that the prevailing wind would create a passively cooled building as well as an orientation towards the bay’s views. A series of long lines organise the natural landscape, and by continuing these lines into the main building and carefully situated clusters of villas, there is an integral relationship between human space and the landscape.
The landscape itself provided inspiration for the choice of building materials. WEIJENBERG wanted to weave in human made structures to appear as if a part of the peninsula. This resulted in the choice of rammed earth as the main building material, as the cliffs, boulders and soil of the peninsula display beautiful red-brown hues of colour. Furthermore, this soil in different forms has been used as a traditional building material in Sri Lanka for hundreds of years.
The firm's interpretation of crafting the traditional for this particular site was one that embodies Sri Lankan tradition and is linked inextricably to nature. The result is a dialogue between the land and design that combines architectural appeal with functionality.