Grant Associates masterplan helps Architect SOM win international design competition

A Grant Associates masterplan featuring a marina, canals and several public parks helped Architect SOM to win an international competition to create a new district for Colombo in Sri Lanka.

The 'green heart' of the development. Image: Architect SOM
The 'green heart' of the development. Image: Architect SOM

Bath-based Grant Associates, which also has an office in Singapore, acted as a consultant landscape architect on the competition entry for the country’s biggest city. The project will see the transformation of 269 hectares of reclaimed land next to Colombo's Central Business District (CBD) transformed into a destination for commerce, tourism and culture.  

The masterplan features a ‘new skyline’ of skyscrapers that is visible from different viewpoints across the city. Walkways and a central plaza will extend around the edges of the new marina, creating a varied public realm that connects to Colombo’s main port and the historic Galle Face Green recreation ground.

The squares, canal edges, gardens, a new harbour, and a new city park take cues from the local environment to create a public realm that is rooted in the country’s unique geography and ecology.

SOM and Grant Associates’ vision was selected as the unanimous winner by an international jury, which said the scheme demonstrated "exceptional sensitivity to the ecological and cultural context of Sri Lanka".

Grant Associates director Andrew Grant said: "A varied and engaging public realm was a key part of the design brief for Port City Colombo. Working in close collaboration with SOM, our aim was to create a sequence of spaces that complement Colombo’s unique geological character while integrating the new cityscape into the fabric of the existing city."

The new district is expected to complete in 2041.

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