Madhura Prematilleke
Sri Lanka


Madhura Prematilleke, principal of teaM Architrave Colombo, is a Sri Lankan Architect and Urban Designer. Madhura studied architecture at Moratuwa (Sri Lanka) and Helsinki, and has worked in Sri Lanka, Finland, India, China, Oman and the Maldives.  He has lectured and taught extensively at international conferences and universities.


teaM Architrave has won 13 design awards and their work has been published internationally, including in the Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary Architecture, Beyond Bawa, Architectural Review, Architectural Design, A+U, and Asian Design Destinations. Competitions wins include the Jaffna Cultural Centre (2010) and the new wing of the Colombo Town Hall (1999).



This is a small garden, both contemplative and playful. It has an unusual relationship to the house it serves, being on a plot annexed as an afterthought: though the two are remote, they bond via a long visual axis and a pathway. The central contemplative structure is a wooden pavilion sitting within a reflecting pool, organized on a strict zen-like axis from the entrance. But the severity is broken by the folly of its nest-like lattice. The ‘nest’ idiom is also a tongue-in-cheek allusion to the much larger and much more flamboyant ‘nests’ that have inhabited the architectural world in the recent past. A tromp o’leil of a fantasy forest adorns the back-drop wall, creating a pathway -through the pavilion- from the real to the unreal. A second such illusion creates a doorway through which the visitor unexpectedly glimpses neighbors in historical garb at what appears to be a party.

An office building located in the new town of the ancient capital of Anuradhapura (500 BC – 400 AD). A red brick ‘Vahalkada’ or entrance gateway makes reference to the historical context of the place, and contrasts with the glass façade of the simple block behind it. The ‘Vahalkada’ forms a gateway to the building itself and to future stages of construction that would follow. Despite the glass façade, the building is completely naturally-ventilated. Windows open on both longer sides to allow the breeze in, and a central skylight running the length of the structure acts as a hot air extractor. The glass is continually shaded by the large trees in the forecourt, which were saved as part of principal design strategy.