The erstwhile Triton Hotel (1979-81) is located just west of the Colombo-Galle Highway in Ahungalla, approximately seventy kilometers south of Colombo. The long and narrow hotel, known nowadays as the Heritance Ahungalla, snakes along the coastline parallel to the water's edge. The building is uniformly three stories tall throughout. The basic unit of the hotel is a sixteen-meter-wide single-loaded corridor, lined by guest rooms; while generally the building follows a linear path where a series of guest rooms runs parallel to the ocean, the hallways loop at points to form a handful of small square garden courtyards bordered by open air circulation spaces. .
The swimming pool is part of an elegantly arranged axial sequence of spaces that leads the visitor from the eastern entry of the resort to the ocean at its western limit. The swimming pool is immediately to the west of the wall-less reception lobby, which in turn sits to the west of a large reflecting pool that borders the main entrance driveway. Bawa intentionally placed water, the reflective polished floors of the lobby, and then more water on the axis of the entry in order to create a continuity between the indoor and outdoor spaces of the hotel and the ocean visible beyond. The surfaces of the water and the lobby floors are at precisely the same level in order to emphasize this designed horizon. The effect is a dematerialization of the ground plane that draws the visitor visually through the building and to the ocean beyond from the earliest approach to the hotel.
While the Triton Hotel is quite simple in its design and detailing, it continues to have a powerful effect on visitors due to its clever spatial planning and understated sophistication. In this design, Bawa clearly begins to operate within the minimalism that characterizes his later works, in a departure from the vernacular style that is often associated with his early projects. However, in other ways Bawa continues to develop ideas long-explored in his practice, such as the memorable sequencing of spaces in order to highlight the natural beauty of the landscape. .
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