Geoffrey Bawa and 'The Genius of the Place'
30. August 2023
Kandalama Hotel, one of five Geoffrey Bawa projects in The Genius of the Place (Photo: Screenshot from the documentuary's official trailer)
The Genius of the Place: The Life and Work of Geoffrey Bawa is a new documentary, directed by Sri Lankan native Afdhel Aziz, that explores the work of "Sri Lanka's most important architect" and "the greatest architect you've never heard of."
Not only have I heard of Geoffrey Bawa, I've been a fan of his architecture for years and have included his buildings and landscapes in books I've written. But I'm an architect who writes about international architecture, so I don't count; I'm not the audience that Afdhel Aziz wants to influence with his 74-minute documentary, which had its premiere in Colombo in July and will hopefully see wider release in the near future. The website for The Genius of the Place boldly asserts that Bawa is “the equivalent of Frank Lloyd Wright in America, Luis Barragan in Mexico or Oscar Niemayer in Brazil” and therefore deserves wider international recognition. Efforts like Aziz's, which come across beautifully in the trailer below, last year's Geoffrey Bawa: It is Essential to be There (especially if it tours beyond Sri Lanka), and the recently published Geoffrey Bawa: Drawing from the Archives should do their part in, at the very least, making Bawa's name familiar to non-architects outside his home country.